BYU hero, Jimmer Fredette, was seen playing at the Marriott Center for the final, final time on Sept. 22—along with many other outstanding rookies freshly drafted into the NBA. It was the Jimmer's All-Stars Jimmermania!
With the NBA lockout in effect, this may be one of the limited opportunities fans had to see these players on the court this year. And what a game they put on! As a recent grad from BYU, I was among those who caught "Jimmer fever," focusing on Jimmer throughout last season and not noticing other talent across the nation. Now I regret that. . . mostly.
Jimmer led one team, taking on San Diego star Kawhi Leonard and his team. Leonard's team won in the end, but with a score 140 to 126 it was actually the fans who got the most out of the evening.
Here were some of the stars that caught the crowds' attention:
Jimmer Fredette (Jimmer's team, obviously)
Jimmer shot for a total of 27 points, about his past season average of 28.9. He hit a few of his famous 3 point shots but mostly drove to the basket to score his points. He emerged to deafening applause and was cat called to "shoot it" every time he touched the ball anywhere between the 3 point arc and the half court line. Fans were beyond words excited to see their star return home.
Isaiah Thomas (Leonard's team)
Thomas stole the hearts of all fans early in the first half, and he wasn't even on Jimmer's team! Not sure how he did it, but this quick 5'9" guard from the Washington Huskies had the crowd screaming "We want Thomas" shortly after Steve Fisher, SDSU's head coach, pulled Thomas out to rest. He played with the crowd giving us the biggest smile. He was later given one of the biggest cheers as he left the court after the game. Thomas was also drafted to the Sacramento Kings and will be playing alongside Jimmer in the years to come.
Nolan Smith (Jimmer's team)
Smith, from Duke, led Jimmer's offense well, scoring regularly throughout the entire game and assisting in many of the alley-oops throughout the game. His humor was unmistakable. If anyone was having a good time, it was Smith. He played and joked with a lot of the players he defended. Several times we saw him smiling and laughing, and at one point he gave Jackson Emery a bear hug after helping him get up. His upbeat attitude made the game even more enjoyable to watch.
Kemba Walker (Leonard's team)
Walker was a sight to be seen. His speed and athleticism helped stop the Jimmer on several of his attempted drives. On the offensive side he worked efficiently, scoring all the time. Walker is one of those players I wish I had watched more closely throughout his career with UCONN.
Nearly everyone on the court got a shot at a slam dunk or alley-oop, including Jackson Emery who barely got his hands on the rim but made the basket all the same. People were swatting balls left and right and stealing was common place. There is a lot of talent in this group of rookies, and I look forward to seeing them on NBA courts.
If you missed the game you can check it out soon on byutv.org. Go under the shows tab and look it up!
TJ Fredette was the half-time show, as he rapped and talked to the crowd. (From left to right: TJ's announcer, Jackson Emery, Jimmer Fredette, TJ Fredette.)