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Fredette Jimmered a Nation

26 March 2011 Brett Richins 14 Comments

America got Jimmered this season (BYU Photo)

You got Jimmered.

So did I.

Our entire nation did.

What we witnessed this season was unlike anything the world of college basketball has ever seen.

Never before has a player captured the nation’s attention over the course of an entire season like Jimmer Fredette did this year.

Oh, you see players make a big splash come tournament time — but to draw the bright lights of the national media for an entire season like Fredette did this year?

It’s never happened before.

We experienced a phenomenon take place right here in little ‘ol Provo, the likes of which we may never see again. It was a once in a generation occurrence, probably a once in lifetime.

That phenomenon was as hard to explain as it was to believe that it could happen to a BYU athlete hidden away on The Mnt. in the mountains.

Certainly part of it was a combination of Fredette’s unstoppable ability to fill it up, his other-world range from deep, his kid-next-door persona and his Americana, almost Norman Rockwell-like upbringing in upstate New York.

Perhaps Jimmer also resonated with so many of us because we can relate to a young man that wasn’t blessed with all-world athletic talent. He was proof that a chubby kid could become the most dynamic player in college basketball through determination, hard work and a dream.

There will be other BYU basketball stars to grace the Marriott Center court in the future, but there will never be another Jimmer. Just the fact that he is known around the country and the world by his first name speaks volumes about how rare this past few months have been.

Around the country today, when a player hits a deep three, comes up with a sick cross-over or goes off for 40-points, Jimmer’s name is often evoked.

The amazing thing is that through it all, Fredette seems to just be able to take everything in stride. He remained humble, affable and approachable even as his rock star status hit the stratosphere.

I’m old enough to have experienced the great career of Danny Ainge. I still think that overall, Ainge is the greatest player in BYU history largely because of how great of a player he was defensively. However, Danny never sniffed the attention Fredette received this season. He literally became an icon and the face of college basketball.

We live in a different time and era now. When Ainge played there was no internet, no social media, no sports talk radio. In 1980-81 ESPN was a fledgling cable network that most Americans didn’t even have access to.

The media chatter will now escalate, speculating on whether or not Jimmer has the ability to make it as a pro and how his game will translate to the NBA.

Before we all start that process, let’s all take a breath, step back and fully appreciate what an incredible ride this has been with Jimmer. What a privilege it was to tag along with him on the amazing journey that was the 2010-11 BYU season. We’re not likely to experience something like this ever again.

Jimmer, thanks for the ride.

Welcome to the Deep Shades of Blue Community!

14 Comments »

  • justin said:

    THANK YOU JIMMER!

  • jthork said:

    Great article, Brett. You have summed up perfectly my own sentiments (and probably those of thousands of other BYU faithful) on this year’s BYU men’s basketball season–and the once-in-a-lifetime “Jimmer experience.” Sit back and savor the moment.

  • bfwebster said:

    Word.

  • Greg said:

    Jimmer, you were and are amazing. Thank you for bringing your talents to BYU!!!

  • Jared said:

    Man I’m gonna miss the Jimmer in blue and white.

  • Charly said:

    Your article was excellent Brent, probably what most of us are feeling in our hearts. Jimmer has been all things wonderful to us since he arrived here in Provo, and it would take an eternity to thank him for all the joy he has brought to us here in the Utah Valley. Thank you Jimmer for choosing BYU. Thank you for the most delightful and exciting time of our spectator sport lives. I would rather watch you play basketball than do anything else in the world.

    Again, the words seem small, but what more can we say? Thank You Jimmer!

  • J 2 said:

    …. teach me how to Jimmer…..

  • Bob Henstra said:

    Kreshimer Cosic was the best to ever where the blue, Danny was second! Only way you could get a ticket when Kresh played was to kill—-

    Bob

  • kiyoshige said:

    I was only 8 when Ainge played. Yes, I remember how everyone was up in arms about him playing 2 sports at BYU and being able to go pro in either. I had heard of football players going “both ways” but for someone to excel in 2 sports – this is what I dreamed of.

    So I can get a sense of the arguments of folks who talk about Ainge (and Cosic). Jimmer couldn’t go pro in any other sport but basketball.

    But, I also understand what it feels like to go 30 years without seeing BYU in the national spotlight in college hoops, 30 years without really any national relevancy and then, wham, bam have the face of NCAA basketball 2010-11 play for your school.

    It’s a good feeling. And I owe it to the man responsible for my avatar.

  • Shareen said:

    I pay homage to my life size poster of Jimmer (from the Daily Herald) every time I go in my garage! I’m constantly finding myself singing one of the various Jimmer songs, much to my husband’s amusement. We all are going to miss you, Jimmer! Good luck in the NBA. I can hardly wait!!

  • Mick said:

    Brett, you hit the nail on the head. Jimmer Fredette took the nation by storm, and took his team along with him. The whole team got so much exposure and so much mileage out of Jimmer. Even when the sad circumstance came forward with Brandon, many in the country rallied around Brandon and the team, because of what they all stood for. This was an incredible season. My wife, who rarely talks basketball, was sad when BYU lost, and even made the comment on Saturday that she wishes BYU had just made one more point in regulation so that we could be watching BYU and Jimmer one more time.

    We should check with BYU and see if Jimmer would put on a shooting show at the Marriott Center for one final look. Let ESPN know that Jimmer will be doing an encore as the Cougars play against each other. What a great time, and what a way to recognize the team for an incredible accomplishment. BRETT, please see what you can do. I would go, and my whole family would be there too.

  • oceanographer said:

    Jimmer,

    Thanks for everything – especially your humility and confidence under the glare of the spotlight. You represented everything I cherish about BYU so well.

  • BlueHusky said:

    Agreed, Jimmer was a phenom. The Riley report was like T.J. Simers in the LA Times, negative just to be negative, though Simers didn’t deign to discuss Jimmer – the LA Times didn’t mention the Cougs until the Davies incident, which, by the way, supported the BYU stand.

    Jimmer will have a good pro career, methinks. He is talented, strong, and works really hard.

    But Jimmer could well have played baseball and maybe football: he was hitting 300 foot little league homers when he was 12 and reportedly hit 400 footers in high school. He was an all-state receiver.

    Once in a generation. He hooked me on BYU hoops, for sure.

  • Bob Herrick said:

    Brett, great article. I also shared Mick’s experience in that my wife showed interest in sports and actually got excited to watch games for the first time in her life! My only little quibble is the statement that this kind of thing “never happened before”. I’m old enough to remember the hype and hysteria of “Pistol Pete” Maravich, which did match or maybe exceed Jimmermania on a national scale, and Kreshimir Cosic came pretty close (I was a non-lds teenager going to school at USC during the Cosic era and remember a LOT of hype!) Still, Jimmermania is a once in a generation phenomena and I’m grateful to have been along for the ride!

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