BYU basketball notebook: Jimmer Fredette has caught President Obama's attention

Published: Wednesday, March 16 2011 9:00 p.m. MDT

The latest Sports Illustrated features five regional cover photos, including one of Jimmer Fredette. (Sports Illustrated) The latest Sports Illustrated features five regional cover photos, including one of Jimmer Fredette. (Sports Illustrated)

DENVER — Jimmermania is sweeping the NCAA Tournament. Even the First Fan, President Barack Obama, knows all about BYU guard Jimmer Fredette.

Obama told ESPN's Andy Katz that Fredette is "unbelievable. Best scorer in the country, obviously. Great."

"That's pretty cool to have the president talking about you and everything," Fredette said.

In his bracket, the President predicts the Cougars will advance to the Sweet 16.

Meanwhile, Fredette was a hot topic of conversation Wednesday throughout the Pepsi Center. The Cougars take on Wofford tonight (5:15 p.m. MT, CBS).

Louisville coach Rick Pitino, whose team faces Morehead State here, was asked about Fredette.

"I obviously watched him a lot this year on television, a big fan of his," Pitino said. "He is a young man that really understands how to play the game. He's really difficult to stop because he's so crafty and uses both hands so well, has great range. And he's very difficult to stop.

"They're not playing great basketball right now, but they could get it back. Anytime you lose a key player, you have a drop-off, then you got to find out where you're going to make up for it.

"He's so exciting, so fun to watch, that college basketball has been taken by him," Pitino said. "You don't know how he's going to score because he's so crafty."

COVER BOY: There are five regional covers for Sports Illustrated's annual NCAA Tournament preview. Of course, Fredette is on one of them.

SI's Luke Winn interviewed another coverboy, Kansas' Marcus Morris, about Fredette. Morris and Fredette were teammates last summer in Las Vegas during the USA Basketball Select camp.

"He's got heart. You can see he has a feel for the game, and he can SHOOT IT from anywhere. Even if you try to box-and-one the guy, he brings it up and just pulls up from the hashmark. That's tough to guard," Morris said of Fredette.

Winn also asked Morris about Fredette's lifestyle while in Las Vegas.

"He just read his Bible. Maybe he went out to eat with his friends, but he came right back in, and he went to sleep early. He was over 21, and he didn't gamble, anything like that. We were in Vegas, and he went to sleep early. But that's just the type of guy he is — he doesn't change for anybody."

COACH OF THE YEAR FINALIST: BYU coach Dave Rose is one of four finalists for the 2011 Naismith men's college coach of the year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Wednesday.

Rose is joined by Notre Dame's Mike Brey, San Diego State's Steve Fisher and Ohio State's Thad Motta. The winner will be announced in early April.

SOUTH CARLOLINA TIES: While Wofford is located in Spartanburg, S.C., Terrier coach Mike Young had seen plenty of BYU's coaching staff in recent years. Rose and assistant Terry Nashif worked hard recruiting guard DeMarcus Harrison, from Greenwood, S.C. Harrison will join the Cougars next season.

"He's a dandy player. Wow, is he a great player," Young said of Harrison. "They recruited him and never blinked. Every gym I went into, and it was like two or three times, and DeMarcus Harrison was there, lo and behold, here sits Dave and Terry. I accused them of having rental property in South Carolina."

Nashif served an LDS mission to Columbia, S.C.

e-mail: jeffc@desnews.com

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