LAS VEGAS — UNLV's Tre'Von Willis just can't resist bad-mouthing BYU's Jimmer Fredette.
This week, Willis reacted to Fredette earning Mountain West Conference player-of-the-year honors.
"My vote would have been for (San Diego State's) Kawhi Leonard or maybe D.J. Gay, all-around players who can play defense," Willis told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
This season, Fredette became the MWC's all-time leading scorer and averaged 31 points per game in league play.
Willis' trash-talking of Fredette has been going on all season.
Before BYU visited UNLV on Jan. 5, Willis said, "They've got a preseason All-American and supposedly the best player in the conference on the other team, so that's gonna be nothing but fun."
Then, Willis added: "I try to make (Fredette) earn everything he gets. Like I said, he's got all of those (pre-season All-America) accolades, but he's gotta come in and prove it."
And Fredette proved it, knocking down seven 3-pointers and scoring 39 points, most of them against Willis, to lead the Cougars to an 89-77 victory.
A month later, when the two teams played in Provo, Willis ripped Fredette again. He was quoted as saying that Fredette "doesn't want to pass the ball. He wants to shoot the ball every single time."
So what did Fredette do? Well, he tallied seven assists as three of his teammates scored in double figures, and he poured in 29 points himself. The Cougars won again, 78-64.
Asked about Willis' pre-game comments, Fredette said he didn't hear them. But in the game's waning moments, Fredette drove hard to the hoop against Willis, scored a layup, and stared Willis down with an icy glare.
Willis admitted afterward the defensive job against Fredette "wasn't good enough."
Will there be Round 3 between BYU-UNLV/Fredette-Willis? To early to say. If they do meet again, it will be in the MWC Tournament finals on Saturday.
Cougars on the air
Wyoming (10-20) or TCU (10-21)
vs. No. 8 BYU (28-3)
Thursday, 1 p.m.
Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas
TV: The mtn.
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM