James Taft " Jimmer " Fredette [2] [3] (born February 25, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). Fredette was the 2011 National Player of the Year in college basketball after ranking as the leading scorer in all of NCAA Division I during his senior season for the BYU Cougars. He was subsequently selected with the tenth overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, but only played limited minutes across four different teams over five NBA seasons. He spent the majority of the 2015–16 season in the NBA Development League, during which he won the All-Star Game MVP. In 2016, he joined the CBA's Shanghai Sharks, and during the 2016–17 CBA season, he led the league in scoring, at 37.6 points per game, counting all phases of the season, [93] and won the CBA International MVP award. [94]

Early life

Fredette was born in Glens Falls, New York [8] to parents Al and Kay Fredette, as the youngest of three children. [9] His mother wanted to call him something unique and nicknamed him "Jimmer".

From his early childhood, Fredette showed unusual dedication to athletics. His older brother TJ recalled, "He was the most determined, competitive four-year-old I had ever seen." TJ helped him train for his basketball career since before kindergarten. [10] He regularly played with TJ, seven years older, and TJ's friends on the family's backyard court. Fredette was able to hit three-pointers at age 5, and developed moves to get around his larger opponents. TJ also remembered that his brother "willed himself to find ways to win, even if he was physically outmatched. From the time he was 10, I was telling everybody he was going to make the NBA." [11]

Other family members assisted Fredette in his development. His father, a financial adviser, introduced him to schoolyard competition against adults at age 8. As Fredette developed, his father took him on occasional road trips to Hartford and New York City for more intense competition, and also helped to coach his AAU teams. His mother allowed him to bounce basketballs throughout the house, and even built a dribbling studio for him in their basement. Her brother Lee Taft, a personal trainer who now operates a speed training school in Indianapolis, started him on running drills as a 5-year-old, and still works with Fredette. [11]

Fredette also has an older sister, Lindsay, Miss Teen New York 1998. [12] Fredette's father became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ( Mormon) at the age of 18 after meeting missionary Kimball Rogers—the father of Fredette's former BYU teammate Stephen Rogers [2] — while his mother is a Catholic. Fredette, along with his two older siblings, chose to become Latter Day Saints after their parents allowed them to choose their religion. [9]

High school career

Fredette was ranked among the nation's top 75 shooting guards by ESPN.com in high school. He is Glens Falls High School's all-time leading scorer, ranking 16th on New York's all-time scoring list, with 2,404 points. [2] Until February 24, 2015, Fredette held the all-time Section 2 high school record, until he was surpassed by Lake George senior Joel Wincowski. [2] Fredette was named first-team all-state by the New York State Sportswriters Association and the Times Union as a junior and senior. He had several memorable on-court moments in his career at Glens Falls, including 12 different 40-point performances in his senior season, and a shot against Voorheesville High School's Andrew Catellier in the season opener of his junior year in which he banked a three-pointer off the glass and in with his opposite hand to force overtime at the end of regulation. In his senior season Fredette led his team to a 25–2 record and the Class A State Championship game which they lost, 58–48, to a Peekskill High School team led by future Syracuse University forward Mookie Jones. He played AAU for the Albany City Rocks alongside future Penn State University point guard Talor Battle and Mark Domaracki. [2] Fredette averaged 25 points per game to help the Rocks to a third-place win over the Minnesota Magic at the 2006 AAU National Championships. [63]

Despite his high school accolades, he went largely unnoticed by the traditional "basketball powers". [11] He received offers from 12 schools [18] and ultimately chose to attend BYU, [18] which was sister Lindsay's alma mater and the flagship school of the LDS Church. [11]

College career

Fredette played basketball collegiately at Brigham Young University (BYU) from 2007 to 2011. He wore jersey number 32 and majored in American studies.

Freshman year

Fredette played in all 35 games for the BYU Cougars as a true freshman, helping BYU earn a 27–8 record and capture the Mountain West Conference Championship. He averaged 18.5 minutes, 7.0 points, 1.7 assists, 1.1 rebounds per game, and was the team's fifth-leading scorer. [63]

Year Games played Minutes/game Points/game Rebounds/game Assists/game
2007–2008 35 18.5 7.0 1.1 1.7

[2]

Sophomore year

Fredette played in all 33 games of his sophomore season starting 32 of them. He was second on the team in scoring (16.2), three-point shooting percentage (.382), three-point makes (52), and free throw percentage (.847), and first in steals (1.5) and assists (4.1). He scored in double figures 29 times and had 20-plus points 8 times. Fredette led the team in scoring 10 times, assists 19 times, and was named first team all Mountain West. [63] Fredette became BYU's first point guard to earn first-team all-conference honors since Marty Haws in 1990.

Year Games Played Minutes/Game Points/Game Rebounds/Game Assists/Game
2008–2009 33 33.0 16.2 3.0 4.1

Junior year

On December 28, 2009, Jimmer Fredette scored 49 points against the Arizona Wildcats, setting a new BYU record and a new McKale Center record for points scored in a single game. [2]

On March 11, 2010, Fredette scored 45 points, shooting 10-for-23 from the field, and making 23-of-24 free throws, in his team's 95–85 win over TCU. His scoring broke the cumulative Mountain West Conference tournament and single-game tournament records. His free throw shooting broke the MWC tournament record for free throws in a single game. [2]

On March 18, 2010, Fredette helped secure BYU's first-round win in the NCAA tournament. He scored 37 points and hit two three-pointers in double-overtime to seal the Cougars' 99–92 win over 10th-seeded Florida, the first time they had reached the second round of the tournament in 17 years. In doing so, he tied a BYU record for most points scored in an NCAA tournament game ( Danny Ainge, 1981). [2]

Fredette considered forgoing his senior year and entering the draft after his junior year, and he was expected to be picked 25th to 30th, but he decided to stay at BYU and play his senior year.

Year Games played Minutes/game Points/game Rebounds/game Assists/game
2009–2010 34 31.1 22.1 3.1 4.7

Senior year

Fredette was named co-captain of his team alongside Jackson Emery and Logan Magnusson. [6] He was the top-ranked point guard in the nation according to Rivals.com [3] and led the nation in points per game despite frequently being double- or triple-teamed, which allowed him to open up shots for his teammates. [3]

Fredette scored a season-high 47 points in BYU's road victory over archrival Utah on January 11, 2011, scoring 32 in the first half including a 40-foot buzzer-beater to end the first half. He finished with 16–28 on shooting along with 4 rebounds and 6 assists. He also scored 39 against UNLV on January 5, 2011 and 33 in a rematch against the same University of Arizona team he scored 49 against his junior season.

On December 8, 2010, he returned to his hometown of Glens Falls, in what was dubbed "The Hometown Classic", to play Vermont in the Glens Falls Civic Center, scoring 26 and attracting a crowd of 6,300, nearly half of Glens Falls' population of 14,354.

On January 26, 2011, in the Mountain West Conference's first battle of top-10 teams, which attracted a crowd of over 22,700 at BYU's Marriott Center, Fredette scored 43 points against previously undefeated San Diego State, ending the game in a 71–58 victory. It was his third game that season to score over 40 points. When BYU played on the road in San Diego, BYU dealt SDSU its only other loss that season, with an 80–67 victory in which Fredette had 25 points, 9 assists and 3 rebounds.

He became the Mountain West Conference's all-time leading scorer on February 5, 2011, with a 29-point performance versus UNLV in the Marriott Center.

On March 7, 2011, Fredette was named both the Mountain West Conference's player of the year and the CBSSports.com National Player of the Year. [3] He was among the final ten candidates for the Bob Cousy Award. [3]

On March 11, 2011, Fredette broke BYU's career scoring record, previously held by Danny Ainge, in the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference Championship Tournament. He set the school's single-game scoring record with a career-high 52-point game against New Mexico, to whom BYU had lost twice in the regular season. He also set BYU's record for most points in one half by scoring 33 points in the first half of the game. [3] Fredette and number 12-ranked BYU were unable to hold off an aggressive 5th-ranked San Diego State team in the Mountain West Conference championship game, and lost, 72–54.

On March 17, 2011, Fredette led 3rd-seeded BYU's scoring in the first round of the NCAA tournament with 32 points, leading the Cougars to a 74–66 victory over 14th-seeded Wofford, and for the second consecutive year BYU advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. [3]

On March 19, 2011, Fredette again led BYU's scoring with 34 points as they defeated 11th-seeded Gonzaga, 89–67, and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament ( Sweet Sixteen) for the first time since 1981, falling to the Florida Gators (in overtime) in a rematch of the game from the previous year. [3]

He was picked to the First-Team All-America by Fox Sports. [3]

Year Games played Minutes/game Points/game Rebounds/game Assists/game Turnovers/game Assist/turnover Blocks/game Steals/game
2010–11 37 35.8 28.9 3.4 4.3 3.5 1.2 0 1.3

[3]

For his senior year performance, Fredette was unanimously named the 2011 national player of the year, being so named by the Associated Press, [32] Basketball Times , [9] CBSSports.com, [34] the National Association of Basketball Coaches, [5] SI.com, [34] Athlon Sports , [35] and Sporting News . He was also awarded the 2011 Best Male College Athlete ESPY Award. [36]

After BYU's nationally televised game against San Diego State in which Fredette scored 43 points, the media attention around him became significant. Fredette gained "pop culture lore", [37] and his name became a verb—opponents on whom he scored many points were considered "Jimmered". [38] His image appeared in on one of the regional covers for Sports Illustrated for the 2011 NCAA tournament preview issue. [40]

YouTube became replete with highlight reels and tribute songs about Fredette (e.g., "Teach Me How to Jimmer"); [38] in February 2011 BYU student Michelle Peralta, who chastised people for "worshiping" Fredette via the campus newspaper and Facebook, was inundated by comments from hundreds of Fredette supporters, the popular media declaring that "Michelle Peralta got Jimmered". [41]

While revealing his NCAA Tournament brackets, President Barack Obama said of Fredette: "Unbelievable. Best scorer obviously in the country. Great talent." [94]

College records

BYU:

  • Most points scored (game) (52 pts) [94]
  • Most Points Scored (season) (1068)
  • Most Free Throws Made (game) (23)
  • Most Free Throws Made (season) (252)
  • Most Free Throws Made (career) (627)
  • Most Field Goals Made (game) (22)
  • Most Field Goals Made (season) (346)
  • Most Three-Point FGs Made (season) (124)
  • Most Three-Point FGs Made (career) (296)
  • Most 30-point games (career) (24)
  • Most 40-point games (career) (6)

MWC:

  • Most Points Scored (game) (52)
  • Most Points Scored (season) (1068)
  • Most Points Scored (career) (2599)
  • Most Field Goals Made (season) (346)
  • Most Field Goals Made (career) (838)
  • Most Three-Point FGs Made (career) (296)

Professional career

Sacramento Kings (2011–2014)

Image
Display in an Orem, Utah, Walmart promoting "Jimmermania"

On June 23, 2011, Fredette was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. He was subsequently traded to the Sacramento Kings in a deal with Milwaukee and the Charlotte Bobcats involving John Salmons, Beno Udrih, Shaun Livingston, Corey Maggette, and Stephen Jackson. [94]

"Jimmermania" in Sacramento was felt immediately as he recharged the fan base. Sales of his jersey resulted in a 540 percent increase in Sacramento Kings merchandise sales, as his No. 7 Kings jersey sold out in stores in the Sacramento area, as well as online. [94] Fredette made his rookie debut in a preseason game against the Golden State Warriors on December 17, 2011, scoring 21 points (tied for team high) and recording 4 rebounds. [94] [94] He got his first start on January 10, 2012 against the Philadelphia 76ers. [94]

On February 12, 2014, Fredette scored a career-high 24 points, along with 2 assists, in a 106–101 overtime win over the New York Knicks. [94] On February 27, 2014, Fredette's contract was bought out by the Kings. [94]

Chicago Bulls (2014)

On March 2, 2014, he signed with the Chicago Bulls for the rest of the 2013–14 season. [94]

New Orleans Pelicans (2014–2015)

On July 24, 2014, Fredette signed with the New Orleans Pelicans. [8] On December 31, 2014, he had a season-best game with 14 points and 3 rebounds in a 95–93 overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs. [8]

On July 22, 2015, Fredette signed with the Spurs. [8] However, he was later waived by the Spurs on October 21, 2015, after appearing in two preseason games. [8] On October 31, Fredette was selected by the Westchester Knicks with the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Development League Draft. [8]

On November 10, 2015, Fredette re-signed with the Pelicans to help the team deal with numerous injuries. New Orleans had to use an NBA hardship exception in order to sign him as he made their roster stand at 16, one over the allowed limited of 15. [8] On November 19, he was waived by the Pelicans. [8]

New York and Westchester Knicks (2015–2016)

On November 28, 2015, Fredette was reacquired by the Westchester Knicks. [8] He made his debut for the Knicks two days later, recording 37 points and 8 assists in a 102–90 win over the Grand Rapids Drive. [8] On January 29, 2016, he was named to the East All-Star team for the 2016 NBA D-League All-Star Game. [8] On February 13, he led the East All-Star team to a 128–124 win over the West, winning the D-League All-Star Game MVP trophy after recording 35 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, and one steal in 25 minutes. [62]

On February 22, 2016, Fredette signed a 10-day contract with the New York Knicks. [63] That night he made his debut for New York in a 122–95 loss to the Toronto Raptors, recording three points in two minutes off the bench. [26] On March 2, the Knicks chose not to offer Fredette a second 10-day contract, making him a free agent. [65] On March 6, he was reacquired by Westchester. [66] At the season's end, he was named to the All-NBA D-League Second Team. [27]

Shanghai Sharks (2016–2017)

On August 2, 2016, Fredette signed with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). [68] [69] Early in the season, on November 11, he had a 51-point outing against the Guangdong Southern Tigers. [99] On February 19, 2017, Fredette scored 73 points in Shanghai's 135–132 double overtime loss to Zhejiang Guangsha Lions. [100] He was subsequently named the CBA's International Regular Season MVP of the 2016–17 season. [10] In 41 games, he averaged 37.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He shot 52.5% from the field on 2-point field goal attempts, 47.4% from the field, 39.6% from 3-point range, and 93.3% from the free throw line. [10] He ranked first in the CBA in points per game scoring average, over all phases of the season; [93] and he ranked second in the league in scoring, during the first phase of the season, which determines the league's scoring champion. [10]

On July 23, 2017, Fredette re-signed with the Sharks. [10]

Career statistics

Legend
GP Games played GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
FG% Field goal percentage 3P% 3-point field goal percentage FT% Free throw percentage
RPG Rebounds per game APG Assists per game SPG Steals per game
BPG Blocks per game PPG Points per game Bold Career high

NBA

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2011–12 Sacramento 61 7 18.6 .386 .361 .833 1.2 1.8 .5 .0 7.6
2012–13 Sacramento 69 0 14.0 .421 .417 .859 1.0 1.3 .4 .0 7.2
2013–14 Sacramento 41 0 11.3 .475 .493 .895 1.1 1.5 .3 .1 5.9
Chicago 8 0 7.0 .448 .364 1.000 .9 .4 .0 .0 4.0
2014–15 New Orleans 50 0 10.2 .380 .188 .956 .8 1.2 .3 .0 3.6
2015–16 New Orleans 4 0 3.3 .250 .000 .000 .0 .3 .3 .0 .5
New York 2 0 2.5 1.000 1.000 .800 .0 .0 .0 .0 3.5
Career 235 7 13.4 .412 .381 .876 1.0 1.4 .4 .0 6.0

CBA

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2016–17 Shanghai Sharks 41 38 40.5 .474 .396 .933 8.2 4.2 1.6 .1 37.6

Playing style and personality

In a January 2011 article, Sports Illustrated writer Kelli Anderson said about Fredette's playing style:

His skills were noted by several collegiate and NBA players across the country. Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder posted on his Twitter account that "Jimmer Fredette is the best scorer in the world!", [10] while Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns tweeted "Jimmer Fredette? That name's straight out of Hoosiers. No wonder he never misses." [10] Jared Sullinger, a forward at Ohio State University, said "Jimmer is going off right now. Pure scorer." [10]

Other facets of his personality were noted by other college coaches. Former Utah Utes coach Jim Boylen cited "swagger and confidence" as Fredette's biggest weapons, and Villanova's Jay Wright also remarked favorably on Fredette's on-court aggressiveness, comparing him to Pete Maravich in that respect. However, Kelli Anderson described Fredette as "fiercely competitive while remaining unassuming and likable", noting that Arizona coach Sean Miller hugged Fredette after he scored 49 on the Wildcats. [70]

Fredette describes his older brother TJ as his biggest fan and supporter. TJ, a rapper whose song "Amazing" was written for his brother, said, "I see him play, and it gives me chills sometimes when he hits some of those big shots and the crowd is going crazy." [10]

In an article published in Sports Illustrated , Marcus Morris, a forward at Kansas, noted the work ethic and moral character Fredette exhibited while at USA Basketball camp. He said, "He’s got heart. You can see he has a feel for the game, and he can shoot it from anywhere. Even if you try to box-and-one the guy, he brings it up and just pulls up from the hashmark. That’s tough to guard." [40]

An unusual set of Fredette fans reside in the Mount McGregor Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison, where he and his older brother played games with the inmates. Fredette credits these experiences as helping with his focus in rough situations. [10] [76]

Upon entering the NBA, Fredette struggled to find his game, with Yahoo Sports' Michael Lee noting that Fredette's inability to adjust from being a scorer to more of a role player could ultimately usher an end to his career. [77]

After signing with the CBA's Shanghai Sharks, Fredette has become a dominant player in the Chinese Basketball League, leading his team to the playoffs last season. He has also acquired the fan nickname "Jimo Dashen," which translates to "The Lonely Master" or "The Lonely God" in Chinese. Fredette commented on this during an interview: “It’s not necessarily the same sense that you think about being lonely. In America, you just think you are by yourself and depressed and that type of stuff. But in this way, it more means that you're on top, and nobody is around you.” [106]

Fredette has become a leader on his team, although, particularly early in his CBA career, his primary form of communication with his teammates was via an interpreter. [107]

Personal life

On August 26, 2011, Fredette announced his engagement to BYU cheerleader Whitney Wonnacott on Twitter. [78] They were married on June 1, 2012, in the Denver LDS Temple. [80] [81] He missed the first playoff game in the CBA playoffs of 2017 because he traveled home to Denver, Colorado, to be with his wife during the birth of their first child. Upon his return he scored 39 points in overtime to give his team the win. While exiting the court he waved to the camera and told his wife and child he was bringing them home a championship.

See also