Nope, this isn’t the Naismith Player of the Year, but it’s a big award.
Fredette and BYU spent the second half of the season ranked in the top 10 of the coaches’ and media’s polls and had BYU contending for a No. 1 NCAA tournament seed. The Cougars won the Mountain West Conference regular-season title and lost to San Diego State in the tournament final. A No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament, they lost to Florida in overtime in the round of 16 and finished with a 32-5 record.
“It’s been quite a ride and it’s been a lot of fun and I wouldn’t take anything back,” Fredette said. “I had quite the career at BYU. There were a lot of ups and downs, but there were a lot more ups this year.
“I just knew right from the beginning we could have a very good year with the guys returning, and it was one of the most talented teams I’ve ever played on,” said Fredette, who averaged 28.5 points. “Then we started to play well and beat Arizona, and I knew from there we could be a force. That’s what happened because we stayed hungry all year, and that’s what separated us from other teams.”
Jimmer dominated the voting, winning 48 votes from the 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly AP Top 25. The voting was done before the NCAA tournament.
“To see Jimmer progress and become a leader of his team, that will be his basketball legacy,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “He is driven not just to be the best player he can, but it was how he helped his teammates to win. He always found a way. That’s what I’ll remember most.”
Fredette is the first BYU player to win the award and the first from the Mountain West since Andrew Bogut of Utah in 2005.
Next up for the 6-foot-3 Fredette is the John Wooden Player of the Year, the Naismith Player of the Year, and finally, the NBA draft.
When asked about the NBA:
“I just feel like as long as I can get into the right situation I can be successful, but it’s all about the situation,” he said. “Hopefully when I get in that situation I’ll prove that I can play and earn the respect of my teammates, coaches and general manager, everybody involved, and hopefully play well for them.”
Information from The Associated Press & ESPN was used in this report.