Dick Harmon: BYU's Rose still reaps dividends from Naismith hardware
PROVO — It's been about a year since it came to town.
So how much mileage has Dave Rose gotten out of it?
It stands two and a half feet high and sits on a table in the BYU basketball office lobby, right under a photo wall. The Naismith Trophy is constructed on a series of wood platforms, a flat base under a multi-name plate block that has engraved panels of recipients on all four sides. The next level is a giant nameplate below a billboard panel glued to a cut-off pyramid wood level that supports the sculpture of a basketball player poised on one foot, the other lifted as if going for a layup.
The 2011 trophy went to Jimmer Fredette. The previous six players to be honored with the trophy are Evan Turner, Blake Griffin, Tyler Hansbrough, Kevin Durant, J.J. Redick and Utah's Andrew Bogut.
It's a great piece of decor, a weighty accessory, a focal point.
It represents something big, an honor that makes a statement. It was first given to Lew Alcindor as the college basketball player of the year in 1969.
It sits in the Marriott Center, in this small office space, but when you are waiting on the couch, it has a magnetic power to draw your eyes to this wood and metal chunk of art designed by Marty C. Dawe of Atlanta.
It is a coveted little idol, indeed.
I asked Rose what it meant to have that sitting on his piece of property, in his office where he receives visitors, recruits, their families and relatives, other coaches, media or school administrators who might have a say in, say, budgets, salaries or facility upgrades.
"I think everybody who walks through here has taken a look at that," said Rose.
Has he taken advantage of it?
Rose believes he has.
"It changes the image of your program for your players," he said. "The existing image improves for current and future players. They walk in there and see that within the last 12 months the national player of the year played here.
"I think it's great for the image of your program but it is also great for the confidence level of your players and the recruits who are considering coming into your program."
Rose said Fredette was an incredible college player. "But there are a lot of our players who commit to come to BYU that feel their talent level is similar. If that can be done by one guy, it can be done by another.
"Hopefully we don't have to go another 30 years to get another one," the Cougars' coach said.
The conversation then turned to Fredette.
His star of yesteryear has had a frustrating season in the NBA. His Naismith Award was not given for NBA potential or play but for what he meant to college basketball.
As the No. 10 pick of the 2011 draft, Fredette has found himself in a quagmire with the Sacramento Kings. His playing time is fragmented. With no training camp in a lockout-shortened season, he was unprepared to deliver his best at the next level, struggling with defense, execution of the pick and roll and fighting chemistry on a team that is comprised of egos that drove off a coach within weeks.
At times, Fredette has looked like his old self, knocking down 3s. But at other times, he's been hesitant to shoot, looked uncomfortable finishing drives in the lane or launching mid-range shots, and he's hesitant to foul.
At times he looks very discouraged, other times, he looks almost angry.
The NBA has not been his friend. His college fame caused jealousy among some of his teammates, and when fellow rookie Isaiah Thomas got on a run, it kind of diminished the Jimmer, whose playing time waned.
Rose knows rosters, locker room dynamics, the weight of egos, the challenge of fitting in and the politics of sports as well as anyone.
His advice for Fredette is simple.
"I think he needs to be patient, which isn't the greatest quality in young players in high school, young players in college and young players in the NBA," said Rose.
"I haven't any doubt in his work ethic or that his motivation level will continue. But patience comes. The most important thing is to not be frustrated with your lack of opportunity. That would be my best advice.
"You can find some solace that if you took some of the top 20 rookies for the last five years and chart them their rookie year and then their second, third and fourth year, you'll find it is not always the rookie that had the best rookie year that has the best career."
Rose said Fredette has had issues, like with Thomas playing so well. That could really "bog down" his mind if he let it. But he doesn't think that has impacted Fredette as much as one might think because Fredette has made shots when he's been given the chance the past few weeks.
"He just needs to take advantage of being where he's always wanted to be and make the most of it."
Meanwhile, what about the ornament on the table?
Well, it speaks for itself, and it's still talking.
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