Jimmermania begins as Sacramento Kings open camp

By Antonio Gonzalez

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Dec. 10 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Hundreds of fans also greeted Fredette's arrival at the airport over the summer after the Kings acquired him in a draft-day trade with Milwaukee as the No. 10 overall pick. A few thousand showed for a pep rally soon after and a half-dozen or so television cameramen — large for a practice at the small-market Kings facility — all scurried for a close-up on Fredette when the doors opened for practice.

"I got more used to it toward the middle to the end of the season. There were a lot more people wanting interviews, it felt like more of an NBA atmosphere with all the media attention I was getting," Fredette said. "I think that will help with the transition to the NBA. Now I just need to transition playing wise."

Fredette spent the NBA lockout getting in shape at BYU and working out with his uncle, Lee Taft, who has been his trainer since he was 5 years old. He also found housing in the Sacramento area and got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Whitney Wonnacott, a BYU cheerleader.

"It was the best summer I've had in my life," Fredette said.

Carrying that over through the winter and into late spring might be tougher.

Sacramento finished 24-58 and missed the playoffs for the fifth straight year, although a late-season surge behind a healthy Evans provided hope that maybe the Kings aren't that far off from making the postseason again.

Kings coach Paul Westphal expects Fredette's game to mesh well with so many talented ballhandlers on the roster, taking some pressure and responsibilities away from the rookie. Fredette is likely to come off the bench and backup Evans at point guard — while also playing on the floor together, at times — early in the season until Fredette finds his footing.

"I think Jimmer's presence, along with John Salmons and Marcus Thornton, all those guys can handle, shoot and pass," Westphal said. "And the more players we have like that, the better it is for Tyreke and for all of our players."

Let Jimmermania begin.

Follow Antonio Gonzalez at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

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