NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans isn't just home to the French Quarter, jambalaya and Bourbon Street.
The Big Easy also claims "Pistol" Pete Maravich, who starred at nearby Louisiana State in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and later with the New Orleans/Utah Jazz.
Maravich is still the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer with 3,667 career points and an average of 44.2 points per game, and he did that without the help of the 3-point shot.
No wonder BYU guard Jimmer Fredette, who is the school's all-time leading scorer and the nation's leading scorer (averaging 28.8 points per game) this season, is drawing comparisons to Pistol Pete.
"Yeah, I know, he was an unbelievable scorer in college," Fredette said of Maravich. "I've heard of him, and I've watched some things on him, some documentaries, and some things that he did in practice. And he was a great story. He was a great player. He really kind of revolutionized the game to do some of the things that he did. He was a great player, and I just hopefully can continue to work hard and get to his level someday."
"The common denominator between Pete Maravich and Jimmer is, they're relentless," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "If they have 30, they want another basket. I can vouch, in Jimmer's case, it has nothing to do with points. What it has to do with is trying to get his team to win games."
REUNION: Fredette and Florida's Chandler Parsons go way back. The two seniors meet again tonight when the Cougars and Gators battle for the right to advance to the Elite 8.
While Fredette was the Mountain West Conference's player of the year, Parsons, a 6-foot-9 forward, was the Southeastern Conference's player of the year. They first met while playing AAU basketball.
"He's a good guy. I like Chandler a lot. He's a hard worker," Fredette said. "He is a very talented player, a versatile guy, and he is going to be ready to go. He's a senior, so he knows this is his last chance as well. And he's a very cool kid. He's funny and energetic. He's a good guy."
Parsons feels the same way about Fredette.
"He's a really good kid. I've known him since 15 years old and we played against them in AAU," Parsons said. "I think he's a really good player. He's tough, he's smart, he's got crazy range on his jump shot, and I just think when you're guarding him, you can't let him get a lot of easy baskets, not give him any easy looks and really just try to contain him because he's been doing this all year long basically for the last two years against everybody. So he's a great player and a great scorer, so we've just got to do our best to try to contain him."
THE FLAVOR OF NEW ORLEANS: For BYU's Charles Abouo, his first trip to New Orleans was all he could ask for, so far. Of course, he doesn't want to leave without a victory against Florida.
Tuesday night, Abouo and his teammates took a little stroll down world-famous Bourbon Street to take in the atmosphere.
"It was cool. We had a good time," Abouo said. "We went to a seafood restaurant and we got some beignets on the way back. It was a good experience. We got a taste of New Orleans. It was exactly what I had hoped for."
"I've always thought New Orleans would be like Florida, with the humidity and you hear about the partying down here," said guard Jackson Emery. "We walked down Bourbon Street and got a feel for New Orleans. It's something different. It's like a mini-Vegas, not as big, more humid. We got some seafood. You always hear about the seafood and we had to try it out."
The Cougars have played in a wide variety of locales this season, from South Padre Island, to Omaha to Buffalo, to San Diego, and a lot of places in between.
What's been Abouo's favorite trip this year?
"I like the warm places," he said, smiling. "Not Buffalo, Glens Falls or Wyoming."5 comments on this story
Rose has been impressed with the way his team has played so consistently on the road this season.
"I believe that our guys have been able to travel all over the country and win games this year. It's been terrific," he said. "This group of guys has been resilient in their ability to travel. One told me the other day that outside of our building (the Marriott Center) this year that we are 19-3. I don't know, you go to the teams that are left in the Sweet 16, how many teams have won 19 games outside their building? It's a real compliment to our players."