Fredette Jimmered a Nation
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.