Between Donald Trump’s presidential tour and the three UCLA basketball players who’ve been accused of shoplifting during a visit, there hasn’t been a shortage of news involving U.S. citizens in China this week.
Another American put on a basketball performance that seems worthy of some headlines — or, heck, at least a prominent spot in our Morning Links.
Everybody’s favorite Shanghai Sharks player went off the other night in Chinese Basketball Association action.
And, by the way, we're not referring to Nick Minnerath or Wen-Ting Tseng here.
Remember James Taft Fredette? Check out what he did the other night in China:
The internet did not disappoint in the aftermath of that discovery.
“I hope he’s okay,” @Colton1622 sarcastically mused in light of Sportando’s use of the word EXPLODED. “Most people don’t live through explosions ”
“He’s a legend,” @akett6 added. “No doubt about it.”
If you don’t believe @akett6 — not sure what @akett5 and @akett7 think — there are some Jimmer fans who will back his claim.
This gave Jimmermania diehards a chance to publicly push for another chance to prove he belongs in the NBA.
Jimmer continued his scoring run with a 54-13-10 triple-double line ...
... and got into an altercation with Stephon Marbury.
Although Jimmer is averaging 38.6 points per game in China this season, that’s only third highest in the CBA, going into Friday's games.
The scoring is so high on that side of the Great Wall there are players who are almost putting up as many points a night as the entire Utah Jazz team. (OK, not really, but, man, the Jazz offense is ... yikes.)
Former Boston big man/bust Jared Sullinger is “Wilt Chamberlain out there (in China),” Dime Magazine noted after digging into the Chinese stats and finding out that Trey Burke’s childhood BFF is averaging 40.2 points, 17 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.
And guess what?
Sullinger isn’t even the top scorer in China, either.
Darius Adams is lighting up that league for 42 points a night.
Other familiar names off to big starts in the CBA: Brandon Jennings (31 points, 7.4 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 3.8 steals); Jamaal Franklin (32.6 points, 10.2 rebounds), J.J. Hickson (29 points, 12 rebounds), Luis Scola (27.2 points, 14 rebounds) and Von Wafer (20.6 points).
“In short, the CBA is amazing,” Dime Magazine’s Robby Kalland wrote, “and I wish there was a way to buy a subscription to stream games because they seem wildly entertaining.”
Some anti-Jimmerers did, too.
And one last cheap shot for the road.
Underachieving and overpaid?
Kyle Whittingham has been put on a list he’d prefer to not be on. The Utah coach is in good company, though.
Whittingham, UCLA’s Jim Mora, Louisville’s Bobby Petrino, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and 10 other big-name coaches in college football who aren’t living up to big expectations and even bigger salaries.
“Fairly or not, the credit — or blame — for good or bad seasons in college football tends to fall on the head coach,” LarryBrownSports.com writer Grey Papke wrote. “When their performances are assessed, their salary is one of the first things that comes up.”
Here’s how the situation at Utah is described for Whittingham, who’s making $3.7 million this season:
“Whittingham once ran the table at Utah, and the Utes recognize what he’s done for them with a top-25 salary. If the question is what has he done for them lately, though, the answer is a lot less charitable. The Utes are 2-4 in Pac-12 play, a big disappointment for a team that spent time in the top 25 earlier in the season and at one point looked like the main threat to USC in the Pac-12 South. Barring an upset against Washington or Washington State, he’s on his way to a first losing record in conference since 2013 — hardly what the Utes are paying him big bucks for.”
If you’re looking for something to do besides search “Jimmer” on Twitter — not that we’d know anything about that — there is no shortage of football this weekend.
• BYU at UNLV, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2 unless the station decides it’d get better ratings by showing color bars for a few hours.)
• High school semifinals at Rice-Eccles Stadium (Livestream details and stories)
6A: Lone Peak (9-2) vs. East (10-1), 11 a.m.
6A: Bingham (11-0) vs. Herriman (6-5), 2:30 p.m.
4A: Sky View (11-0) vs. Orem (10-2), 6 p.m.
• 19th-ranked Washington State at Utah, 3:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network It’s now available in China just in case you’re headed over there to see Jimmer play in person.)
• Utah State at BYE (I'm picking the Aggies.)
• 12th-ranked Weber State at Portland State, 3 p.m. (If your TV isn’t already set on Pluto TV like ours is, you can also view the livestream at WatchBigSky.com.)
• 15th-ranked Southern Utah at UC Davis, 5 p.m. (The Big Sky-leading T-Birds are looking to win eight Div. I games for the first time in history. Tune into WatchBigSky.com.)
• It’s Championship Saturday for the smaller high schools. (Livestream details and stories)
3A: Morgan (9-2) vs. Juan Diego (10-2), 2 p.m. (Weber State)
2A: South Summit (11-0) vs. Beaver (10-1), 11 a.m. (Southern Utah)
1A: Duchesne (10-1) vs. Milford (10-1), 1:30 p.m. (Southern Utah)
• Snow College at Phoenix College (The 8th-ranked Badgers hope to improve to 9-1 in their final regular season game.)
Lastly, Ohio State lineman Branden Bowen, who played for Corner Canyon High in Draper, made it clear he wasn’t thrilled with Skyridge’s thrilling 34-33 comeback win over his old school in Friday's 5A semifinal.