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AN IDEA ON HOW TO GUARD AND DEFEND JIMMER FREDETTE

In my opinion, Jimmer Fredette of Brigham Young University is the best player in the nation this year in men's college basketball.  Fredette's talents handling the basketball, passing the ball, and shooting the ball make him a difficult match-up and may be the biggest reason why BYU fans have hope that they will be making their first Final Four appearance in school history. 

However, after watching the game tapes, there may be some ways to slow down Jimmer Fredette and give yourself a chance to defeat a team like Brigham Young.  While I do not profess that I have all the answers on how to defend Jimmer Fredette and come out with a win, I merely want to give some ideas on how a player or a team can guard him

What Jimmer Fredette Does Well

In starting with the things that Jimmer Fredette does well is quite lengthy and all of these things make him a difficult match-up.  The first, and most glaring, is his shooting range.  In several games this year, including the games that I watched, Fredette took shots well behind the three-point line and made several of them.  Obviously, he is not shy about taking such a long shot and can at least hit the rim when he does shoot those particular shots.

Second, Fredette is an outstanding facilitator.  When he does not have a good to great scoring opportunity for himself, Jimmer has the unique ability to get other people involved in the offense.  He's not a classic "ball hog" in that he does nothing but shoot.  Rather, Jimmer Fredette has the ability to create scoring opportunities for his teammates.  He does a great job of getting other players open because he commands such attention when he has the ball in his hands.  As a result. when a team totally commits to shutting down Jimmer Fredette, that team allows themselves to become vulnerable to the other four players on the court.

Third, and what I think is the most underrated part of his game, is his level of toughness.  When he was in high school, Jimmer Fredette was known to go to a nearby state prison in Glens Falls, NY and play with the prisoners.  Needless to say, this was a great way for him to deal with hostile crowds and tough-as-nails defensive players.  Because of this, he can overcome tough situations and is always at his best when his best is required.

Other Observations

One of the first observations that can be made about Jimmer Fredette is how he uses his hands when handling the basketball.  The first is that he is a right-handed shooter and favors his right hand when he goes to the rim.  Meanwhile, he will use the left hand as much as his right when dribbling in place.  If he is made to attack the basket with his left hand, he will do one of three things: he will pull up and take the mid-range jump shot, he will attempt to draw the defender or he will try to go back to his right to attack the rim or pass to an open player on the perimeter.

The second observation is how he is utilized on defense by the BYU coaching staff.  Actually, this could be how the coaching staff is hiding him on defense.  There's no shame in doing it and I am certainly not saying that Jimmer Fredette is a bad defensive player.  It's just that with all the minutes that Jimmer Fredette is playing (nearly 37 minutes per contest) and his scoring punch, there is just no way that Fredette could possibly be asked to expend himself on the defensive end nearly at the same rate as on offense.  His role is to spearhead the offensive efforts for his team, not to be a great shutdown defender.

Finally, the other observation is that Jimmer Fredette is not a team entirely to himself.  While he can certainly do the scoring of two or three players, he has yet to show that he could do all the scoring of all five players in a game.  If Fredette isn't scoring, the slack is certainly picked up by Jackson Emery (#4) on the perimeter and by the rest of the supporting cast including, Noah Hartsock (#34) who knows how to spot up and hit big shots.  At the time of this article, Jimmer Fredette is averaging 27.3 points per game, best in the nation by more than two points per contest.  While he has the ability to score and these numbers seem jaw-dropping, they aren't overly daunting and don't get into "Pistol" Pete Maravich territory.

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