It’s nearly time to get another glimpse of former BYU basketball star Jimmer Fredette.
Team Fredette, with its namesake as the star, is set to play its Super 16 matchup against the Fort Wayne Champs on Friday in The Basketball Tournament, the annual 72-team, $2 million competition.
In addition to Fredette, Cougar fans can again see former BYU stars Brandon Davies and Charles Abouo on Team Fredette. Here’s everything you need to know for the game:
How to watch
Team Fredette vs. Fort Wayne Champs
The Basketball Tournament Super 16
Date: Friday, 5 p.m. MDT
Location: Georgia State Sports Arena, Atlanta
TV/Live stream: ESPN2/ESPN3
The Jimmer effect
The Jimmermania phenomenon that caught on during Fredette’s junior and senior years at BYU and has popped up throughout his pro career has helped bring attention to this TBT event.
One of Fredette’s 3-pointers from the team’s first-round win — which he shot from about 35 feet away — was reminiscent of his days at BYU.
He averaged 31 points per game during Team Fredette’s first two games in The Basketball Tournament, shooting 46.2 percent from the field while hitting all 22 free-throw attempts. Fredette’s play inspired The Ringer’s Mark Titus to profile what the former Cougar can do for TBT, and the memories his performance has evoked.
“I don’t want to suggest that what may or may not unfold over the next week is going to impact Jimmer’s legacy in any way. But if I’m being completely honest, I forgot the true extent of Fredette’s BYU greatness. I remember that he launched deep 3s and scored a ton of points, but I forgot how that felt,” Titus wrote.
It’s that link to the past that can be good for TBT, Titus believes.
“I think TBT can strike gold by playing up the idea that it’s the place where players can go to get one more taste of college basketball shortly after their NCAA careers end. The single-elimination tournament concept has always been appealing; now, the idea of players running it back in pursuit of something bigger is starting to follow,” Titus wrote.
He continued: "Best of all, The Basketball Tournament provides a chance for someone like Jimmer — who’s young enough to take the court without looking washed — to remind America of what it was like to watch him own the college basketball world."
A big man addition
Less than a month ago, Jack Cooley was playing in the NBA Las Vegas Summer League for the Phoenix Suns squad. On Friday, he’ll be suiting up for Team Fredette.
The 6-foot-10 center who played 16 games for the Utah Jazz in 2015-16 was added to the Team Fredette roster, the team announced Wednesday.
Cooley tweeted his approval.
This comes after Team Fredette lost the second-chance points battle in both their first and second round games last weekend, and was outrebounded by an average of 42.5 to 31 (including 17 to 9.5 on the offensive glass) in the two games.
Cooley finished the 2017-18 NBA season with the Sacramento Kings, scoring 10 points and grabbing four rebounds in 18 minutes in the Kings’ regular-season finale, a 96-83 win over the Houston Rockets on April 11. He played in seven games for Sacramento last season, while spending the majority of the year playing for the G League’s Reno Bighorns.
Cooley had a cult following playing for the Suns in Las Vegas. At one point late in the Suns’ win over the Orlando Magic on July 9, a group of fans started chanting “M-V-P” for Cooley, a veteran of the Las Vegas Summer League.
“My family, they love it,” Cooley told CBS Sports. “They go nuts.”
Cooley’s tenacity, particularly on the boards, is something he’ll bring to Team Fredette.
"I would personally describe myself as the best rebounder on the court, regardless of what level we're playing at, and the guy who is going to play the hardest," Cooley told CBS Sports.
Who are the Fort Wayne Champs?
Much of the Fort Wayne roster is comprised of players who have suited up for the G League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants, including Trey McKinney Jones, Stephan Hicks, Tra-Deon Hollins and Je’lon Hornbeak, who all played there last year. McKinney Jones made his NBA debut last year after signing a 10-day contract with the Indiana Pacers before returning to Fort Wayne.
Former NBA second-round pick Travis Leslie signed a 10-day contract with the Utah Jazz in 2013 (he never played for Utah while on contract) and joined the Jazz in the 2017 NBA Summer League. He’s also a former Mad Ant and was playing for the Sydney Kings when they faced the Jazz in the preseason last year.6 comments on this story
Anthony Kent is a former Mad Ant who most recently played overseas and briefly was a teammate of Team Fredette guard Jordon Crawford with the G League’s Westchester Knicks in 2016-17. Anthony Walker is another former Mad Ant who played last year for the Texas Legends of the G League, including some time with former BYU guard Kyle Collinsworth.
Julian Mavunga, another overseas player, and former Tulsa guard Corey Henderson Jr. round out the Fort Wayne Champs roster.
The Champs reached the TBT semifinals in 2015.