If Jimmer Fredette could have had more time to work out for NBA teams and receive better evaluations closer to the draft, he might not be the talk of the college basketball world right now. The BYU guard tested the draft waters last year, but opted to come back for his senior year when nobody could give him a guarantee on where he’d go in the draft.
Now, he’s the leading candidate for National Player of the Year. Fredette is the nation’s leading scorer, has gained notoriety for being able to score in bunches and in different ways and has the Cougars ranked in the top 10.
With March Madness right around the corner, however, there are still plenty of doubters — those who say Fredette can be made to have an off night and BYU will crumble. Few teams, if any, have been able to slow Fredette to this point, however, and Fredette says his team would survive anyway.
Jimmer Fredette joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss testing the draft waters, if he would have gone pro if he were guaranteed to be a top-15 pick last year, why he has to prove himself every night, the biggest knock on his game, how he would fare in the NBA 3-point shooting contest and how his Cougars will fare in the Big Dance if he has an off night.
On signing kids on the head:
“You just sign it right on his forehead and then I signed a kid’s arm last night. I always try to ask their parents before they do it so I don’t get in trouble and they don’t get in trouble.”
What did he hear when working out for NBA scouts last year?:
“What I was looking for was a guarantee by a team to be able to tell me that they would draft me if I was there at that pick. The teams that I worked out for had picks in the late first round and early second round and that was where I was projected to go. I was just trying to find a guarantee but it was so early in the process that I was everybody’s first workout. … But that’s what I was kind of looking for. They all thought that I could play at that level … but they didn’t know exactly where I was going to be picked.”
If he was a top 15 pick last year, guaranteed, would he have gone?:
“Yeah, I think so. That’s my goal, to play in the NBA, and you never know what’s going to happen, so if you have the opportunity, I think it’s the smart choice to go in and have a chance. If I would have known that and been guaranteed, I probably would have left.”
How much does he feel he has to prove himself every night?:
“I feel like I have to prove myself every night. I think you have to play with that type of an edge and I think that’s what makes me and my team so successful. … Every single night, you can’t be satisfied. You still know there’s a lot of doubters out there … and you have to use that as motivation.”
What’s the biggest knock on his game?:
“Not athletic enough, not able to play against the best athletes and be able to get my shot off or play defense or whatever it is. … I’ve heard that my whole entire life and, up to this point, I’ve been able to stop the critics from saying that. But, at the next level, they still have questions as to whether I can do it or not.”
How he would fare in this year’s NBA 3-point shooting contest:
“Hopefully I would be able to hold my own and be able to shoot well. … I don’t know, but hopefully I’d be able to do all right.”
Can BYU advance in the NCAA Tournament if he has an off night?:
“I think we can. I’ve had off nights before against some good teams and they’ve been able to pick up the slack and make plays. A lot of times, if teams are really, really focusing on me … I have the confidence and my teammates have the ability to make shots. … It’s not a one-man team. We have some really good players.”