Drafting the NCAA Tourney: BYU's Jimmer Fredette

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Jimmer Fredette? Who?

Fredette is the first guy to come out of nowhere into the national consciousness with a big NCAA Tournament game — 37 points, stoking threes in the clutch and leading BYU to a thrilling double OT win that screwed up brackets throughout Florida. College guys knew who he was, but most of us had not seen him play.

You had to be impressed with his desire and leadership, plus his high basketball IQ. He can shoot the rock and his shot has NBA range already (although it may not be consistent yet), he’s not afraid to take big shots.

But can he ball at the NBA level? Depends on who you ask, but nobody is really sold. According to a couple people we spoke to (including a brief exchange with friend of the blog Joe Treutlein, Assistant Director of Scouting for DraftExpress.com), there are a lot of questions.

His big problem is Fredette is just not very athletic. In the NBA that is going to be a bigger problem on the defensive end. This is from the DraftExpress profile:

He’s a below average on the ball defender and lacks the lateral speed to keep up with quick guards. When watching him, it’s easy to see he’s giving a step to his opponent, almost baiting them to shoot and he still struggles to stop dribble penetration. Off the ball, he’s often out of his stance and appears to be resting. He’s a step slow on closeouts, but does make an effort to contest almost all jump shots when isolated on the perimeter.

On offense is very good at covering up his athletic shortcomings because he is clever and strong — he can drive into the lane and physically hold off defenders. In the NBA everybody is strong. And those little finger rolls that he hit on Florida would be swatted into he third row at the next level (or the fifth row if it is Marcus Camby coming from the weakside). He’s going to have to have a bigger arsenal of shots (like a floater).

Still, GMs love a gamer and Fredette is that. ESPN’s Chad Ford quotes a GM who thinks Fredette will find a way to get it done at the next level. Maybe so, but he will likely be picked in the second round if at all. He’s going to have to prove himself at Summer League and a training camp, to start.