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Fredette pumps up the volume for BYU fans in TBT event

July 30, 2018

BYU's Jimmer Fredette awaits an inbound pass during their game against CSU at the Marriott Center in Provo Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. MARK JOHNSTON/Daily Herald

It’s the summer of Jimmer.

BYU fans are getting flashbacks to 2011 this summer as Cougar legend Jimmer Fredette and his teammates are rolling through The Basketball Tournament, a $2 million winner-take-all event that started with 72 teams but is now down to four. Team Fredette routed Scarlet and Gray 100-78 on Sunday to make its way into the Final Four. Fredette, who leads the tournament in scoring with 32.8 points per game, scored 28 and dished out seven assists as Team Fredette had no trouble dispatching an opponent of mostly former Ohio State players.

Team Fredette – the No. 2 seed from the Midwest Region – defeated Peoria All-Stars 88-80 in the first round and Jackson TN Underdawgs 99-89 in round two. Fredette scored 41 points to lead his team to a 104-91 victory against Fort Wayne Champs to advance to the quarterfinals.

Team Fredette will play Eberlein Drive in the one semifinal. Eberlein Drive is the No. 7 seed from the West Region and upset top-seed Team Challenge ALS 78-67 in the quarterfinals.

The other semifinal pits top overall seed and defending champion Overseas Elite against the (Marquette) Golden Eagles. Both games will take place on Thursday in Baltimore and can be seen on ESPN.

Fredette isn’t doing it alone. Former Cougar Brandon Davies is having a great tournament. Guard Ra’Shad James is a very talented shooter and Jeff Ledbetter has come off the bench to provide a spark on both ends of the floor. The addition of Jack Cooley has helped solidify Team Fredette’s rebounding and defensive presence in the paint.

Last year, Fredette coached a team that was eliminated in the first round. This year, he’s the focus of every opponent’s defensive effort but he’s finding a way to score anyway.

The debate rages on about whether Fredette, who has dominated the past two seasons in the Chinese Basketball League, deserves another shot at the NBA. It seems incongruous that none of the 30 NBA teams could find a place for a shot-maker like Fredette. Naysayers point out his defensive deficiencies or his ball-handling skills. His supporters point out that he is at his best with the ball in his hands and some NBA team just needs to give him a chance.

Wherever you stand on the issue, there’s no denying that watching Jimmer do his thing is entertaining and a shot in the arm for BYU fans worried about the upcoming football season.

Last month, Fredette was in town for a charity event at Heritage School. He said he wasn’t necessarily using the TBT as a springboard to return to the NBA.

“You just kind of roll with the punches and keep things in perspective,” Fredette said. “Basketball isn’t everything. It’s your job and you love it. You want to succeed in it and do the best you can. But at the end of the day, family is what’s most important. As long as you’re happy and providing for them and doing all those things, that’s what keeps you going.”

Fredette still has one year left on his contract with his Chinese team, the Shanghai Sharks.

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