Kemba Walker stole all the headlines early in the season and now he’s stealing them at the end. Throughout the season, however, the nation seemed to be captivated by BYU senior guard Jimmer Fredette. That consistency, and probably partially because some national award ballots are due rather early, Fredette is piling up National Player of the Year honors.
Fredette was named just that by the Associated Press heading into the Final Four weekend. Fredette led the nation in scoring and took the BYU Cougars to the Sweet Sixteen. There, however, they lost to the Florida Gators in what was a forgettable night for Fredette.
Now the questions turn to how he might pan out as an NBA player. He tested the draft waters a year ago before deciding to return for his senior season. Soon, we’ll see exactly where he goes in the draft. Fredette says he’s patterned much of his game around that of Steve Nash. How many believe he can be that kind of difference maker at the next level?
Jimmer Fredette joined XTRA Sports in Phoenix with Bickley and MJ to discuss how his story rose to the national level, where the name Jimmer came from, his outstanding range when it comes to outside shooting, ending his career with one of his worst games of the year, patterning his game after Steve Nash and why he believes he’ll be successful at the next level.
What did he make of the way people gravitated toward him and his story this year?:
“It was amazing, really. I never expected that type of media attention when I came back to school this year. I knew that I could play well, I knew that I could make an impact and maybe get some national exposure and be in this conversation for Player of the Year, but I didn’t know the people would love it so much. … It’s been so much fun and I’ve just had a blast with it.”
Where did the name Jimmer come from?:
“My mom. … My real name is James, but ever since I was born, she called me Jimmer. That’s what she wanted my name to be. That’s what happened and she would always get mad if people called me James.”
On his crazy shooting range:
“I’ve shot from pretty far this season. I only do it sometimes, especially when the guy’s playing off of me. The coaches have given me the green light and they have confidence that I can make that shot and so does my teammates. But at the next level, I’m not just going to be out there jacking shots like that, because that’s not what I do. But in this case I was able to do that at some times.”
On ending his career with one of his worst games of the year:
“It definitely wasn’t one of my better games and that happens to people. You just don’t have a great game. Sometimes you get caught up in the moment and you want to get everything right away and try to win the game. … Some of the shots weren’t the greatest shots in the world, but I had some good looks that I just wasn’t putting into the basket. I didn’t play great overall, but we still had a chance to win.”
On patterning some of his game from Steve Nash:
“I’ve watched him my entire life and he’s been a big influence in my game, just the way that he can get into the lane and be able to finish at the rim, no matter how he shoots it. … And just how he can handle the ball and nobody can take it from him. He’s almost daring them to come get it so he can go by them.”
How does he see his draft prospects shaping up?:
“It’s definitely going to be an adjustment, just like from high school to college, college to NBA is an even bigger difference. And I realize that, but I’m determined to play well. I’m determined to go out there and make a name for myself. I know I can do it, as long as I go out there and play my game, play well. I just have to earn the respect of my teammates and everybody in the organization and I know if I do that, I’m going to have a successful career.”