Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kemba? Please! Still Riding the Jimmer Bandwagon

Since the loss to Florida last Thursday night, many members of the national media have, as one should have expected, pulled a 180 in respect to Jimmer Fredette. Much of the criticism comes down to this bottom line: He's no Kemba Walker.

Granted, Kemba Walker is a very special talent. He is quick and clutch, and he has enjoyed an enormous of amount of success in this 2010-2011 college basketball season.

But, frankly, I don't get the recent Kemba-Jimmer comparisons, and I certainly don't understand the idea of him winning player of the year.

Jimmer “The Chucker” Fredette

One of the biggest criticisms of Jimmer in the last week is that he is a "chucker." This stems from his last game in which he scored 32 points but took 29 shots to get there.

Sure, 29 shots does seem like a lot when you are only getting 32 points, but that kind of result from Jimmer is pretty much an aberration.

In all of the 2010-2011 season, Jimmer only had four games with an equal or worse ratio of Field Goal Attempt to Points Scored (0.91).

Kemba had 12.

The ratio of 0.91 for FGA-PTS really isn’t very good, so what happens when we lower the bar on the FGA-PTS ratio to 0.85? Jimmer had five games with that.

Kemba had 16, including one in the most recent game against Arizona.

In fact, over the course of the season the FGA-PTS ratio for Jimmer was 0.72.

Kemba’s was 0.76.

If you are going to call Jimmer a “chucker,” because, in one of his worst shooting games of the season, his points and shots taken are too close, you can’t cover your eyes and ears when Kemba takes 14 shots to get 8 points (2/2 at home vs. Syracuse) or 27 shots to get 22 points (1/8 at Texas).

“I've seen dead people play better defense”

Clearly, Rick Reilly had not actually seen a corpse play better defense than Jimmer Fredette when he wrote that. However, defense is likely Jimmer’s biggest weakness on the basketball court.

But I look at it differently.

The opposing team often doubles and even triple-teams Jimmer in hopes of containing him. Sometimes it works (somewhat), sometimes it doesn’t.

Also, Jimmer hardly goes a night without two or three players rotating the defensive assignment of stopping Jimmer. They take rests and get back on him.

Jimmer doesn’t get a break from being Jimmer.

Would any of these haters care to be Jimmer Fredette for a game, have the ball in your hands as much as he does, dribble as much as he does (whether you like it or not), run around as much as he does, use as much energy as he does on offense – and then be expected to shut down quick guards on the other end?


We would have all liked to see Jimmer play better defense, but we sure did love his offense, didn’t we?

“…and a set of teammates who looked like pizza delivery guys”

We could argue all day about how good the other players on BYU are or aren’t, but that is not the issue.

The issue is that even with a team Rick Reilly deemed as being as good as “pizza delivery guys,” Jimmer still did what he did this season, and that should be impressive.

Here are the ratings of Kemba’s teammates, according to ESPN Recruiting:

Jeremy Lamb, 92
Alex Oriakhi, 96
Shabazz Napier, 94
Roscoe Smith, 95
Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, 94

How many guesses do you want to figure out how many of Jimmer’s teammates were ranked at 92 or higher? Or even in the 90s? Because the answer is “0.”

Now I don’t think Jackson Emery and Kyle Collinsworth are stiffs or “pizza delivery guys,” but if you’re going to trash Jimmer’s teammates, shouldn’t you expect more from someone with Kemba’s teammates?

Other Kemba NOT for Player of the Year notes:

As important as March is, should the "Player of the Year" award be given for waking up in March? People were high on Kemba after his Maui performance, but he disappeared for several months.

You shouldn't able to win POY if you "led" your team to a 4-7 record during any stretch in a season. If a Heisman candidate has one bad game, some write them off. Two bad games? You're done. Why should this award be given to a guy whose team was 9-9 in the Big East?

Frankly, I prefer the Jimmer bandwagon now compared to two or three weeks ago. Getting rid of all of the national media has made it a lot faster.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Passing up Danny Ainge

For all of my life, the only BYU basketball highlight I ever saw run on TV was this Danny Ainge one:

In fact, because of the play it got, as a kid I always had assumed it was for the national title. I even remember telling friends in high school that "BYU has won a title in both football and basketball."

That was obviously not the case.

That Danny Ainge play happened a good eight months before I was born, and BYU's basketball history has not had a lot of things with which fans could compare. Danny Ainge and his tournament run was thebomb.com.

Sure, we've had some things to hang our hats on: Shawn Bradley's (speaking of images of stuff you hang your hat on) NBA career and appearance "in Space Jam," the Rafa years were good, and who doesn't guys like having alumni like Plaisted and Hansen having a cup of hot cocoa in the NBA?

However, nothing had been close to passing up Danny Ainge...until this year.

Quite literally, in fact, as Jackson Emery passed up Danny Ainge has the BYU leader in steals:

Then, Jimmer Fredette passed up Danny Ainge for career points at BYU, while having the best individual statistical season a player at BYU has ever had:

Now the only thing left to do for this team is pass up Danny Ainge's 1981 tournament run. With a win over Florida on Thursday, this BYU team will have gone as far as any BYU team has gone in NCAA Tournament. Could this even be the year that run gets passed, and BYU finds its way into the Final Four?

With everything else that has happened, wouldn't this be the year for it?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Saturday Night Recap

This is a really cool compilation of highlights from Saturday night's game. It shows us torching the Zags. It also backs up what Gonzaga center Robert Sacre said about BYU not being that good. Just kidding.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Daughter, the Bracketologist

It's that time of the year again: March Madness. A time where school, job, and sometimes family take a back seat to the bracket. Many of us, I'm sure, have spent an hour or two trying to figure out the perfect bracket only to find out later today and tomorrow our bracket was as accurate as your office's curmudgeon is during one of his rants.

This year, I decided to take a different approach.

I still spent too much time on a bracket destined to give me nothing but heartbreak, but I decided to recruit someone who didn't really didn't care, and, in fact, most likely did not even know what was going on around: my two-year-old daughter.

She took all of the "science" out of it. The only thing she knew about college basketball is whatever was absorbed while she played with her toys during BYU games (and that was pre-Davies suspension, so how credible is that knowledge?).

We went through every game in the first round, and I held out both of my hands and gave her the match-up, with each hand representing one of the teams. Brilliant strategy.

Brilliant, that is, until she got tired of picking hands that had nothing in them. So we moved on to using two blocks - both red, both cubes. That also went well...until she found a blue block and decided to put it in the middle.

Then when I took that one away, assuming we were cleaning up, she would grab both red blocks at the same time and give them back to me. Foiled again!

I decided that, as a last resort, I would grab two character from her barnyard gang, and use them. While she did grab another one to join in on the fun, I was able to use these to finish out her very bracket.

Certainly, she has a lot of upsets picked that are, quite frankly, indefensible, but she ended up with a pretty coherent Final Four, with Ohio State winning it all.

What's the more pathetic thing: that I spent well over an hour filling out a bracket with someone who had neither an interest in it nor an idea as to what was even happening or that her bracket, even with the prediction of the first #16 to beat a #1 and other ridiculousness, might still beat plenty of people in my ESPN group: Jimmer and the Fredettes?

Thursday, March 3, 2011


They say that any exposure is good exposure.  Well, whoever said that forgot about indecent exposure, which is against the law.  So...I already found the crack in that argument.

With all the news about Brandon Davies getting kicked of the team for violating the honor code, you might be thinking, "this isn't the kind of exposure I wanted when BYU said they were going independent in football and signing a deal with ESPN to get more exposure."  Admit it, that crossed your mind, it crossed mine.  The thing is, I think it's exactly the kind of exposure BYU was targeting.

The news about Davies was all over the country yesterday, and still is today.  It is still a headlining story on ESPN as of right now, and it has been all over SI and CBS sports.  If you are one of those people embarrassed by BYU and think that they ruined an excellent opportunity for the school, watch these videos from ESPN.



The commentary is all very positive and respectful of BYU.  They acknowledge the morals and standards of BYU and what it stands for.  They also note that many universities would sweep something like this under the rug so it wouldn't hurt their sporting program.  Not BYU.  Even when the NCAA looks the other way on disciplinary actions, BYU stands by theirs.  That, my friends, is representing the church.  This isn't about sports right now, this is about an institution that represents the church.  That is the exposure that the church and school wanted, the kind of exposure that shows off the ethics, beliefs, and standards.  Success in sports is also a tool that introduces these things, but when an incident like this happens, all the focus goes towards the standards that BYU has.

There have been numerous articles and blogs about Davies' suspension, and it is interesting to look at the comments afterwards.  Of course there is going to be those bashing the honor code and BYU, but for the most part it was filled with comments of respect and, strangely, gratitude.  Some call it a "breath of fresh air."  Others chimed in with "a university with ethics? that's almost unheard of nowadays."

It is frustrating, Davies let a lot of people down.  But, he did know what he signed up for when he enrolled at BYU.  He got himself into this problem.  It's unfortunate that his issues are so public and national, but he knew what he signed up for when he enrolled at BYU.

Many say that this will hurt recruiting and BYU sports.  I beg to differ.  This is not the first time someone has gotten in trouble because of the honor code and it won't be the last.  BYU will continue to get the athletes that it has already been getting recently, and I think it will create more interest to others that are non-LDS (especially their parents) and that are religious and want to attend a school with morals.  Believe it or not, they are out there.

In the short-term, this sucks.  The short-term usually always sucks.  However, the long-term, I'm not patient enough for.  It's so long away, I want the NCAA tourney run right now.  I want to cap off this magical and exciting season with a successful March and maybe April.  It looks dim now.  The long-term, however, is the image that the school is gaining, both academically, athletically, and morally.

It has been good exposure, just depends on your point of view.  It's the kind of exposure BYU and the church were hoping for.  Lots and lots of jokes have been made, but lots and lots of national respect has been garnered also.