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Utah Jazz impressed by Jimmer Fredette's homecoming performance

Published January 31, 2012 8:37 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sacramento rookie Jimmer Fredette's first game against the Utah Jazz since his glory-filled days at BYU drew a favorable reaction from the team he nearly beat Saturday night.

Fredette finished with 14 points, but he missed a go-ahead 3-point shot with 5.9 seconds remaining and the Jazz escaped with a 96-93 victory.

"You know what?" Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "I thought he handled the pressure really well. I thought he did a good job of coming out and playing his game.

"He didn't seem to press things. He waited for his shot to come. The first two shots he made were good looks. He didn't rush them. He just played his game and I thought he played well. His NBA game is growing."

Fredette's best moments came in the second quarter, when he helped rally the Kings from a 41-32 deficit.

Fredette scored seven points in less than four minutes as Sacramento within two at halftime.

"Pretty smart player," said Jazz point guard Jamaal Tinsley. "He does a lot of things. He has a nice feel for the game."

Offensively, Tinsley said, "Everybody knows he's a shooter. But, in this league, you have to learn how to create your own shot — get your own shot off the dribble. As time comes, he'll get that."

C.J. Miles, who scored a season-high 20 points for the Jazz, was also impressed.

"Everybody knows he can play, that's the biggest thing," Miles said, adding that Fredette "… made some good plays. He made some shots. I think the biggest thing — coming in here, his first time back home, with that crowd and everything — he wanted it so bad. You could see it."

Tinsley liked the way Fredette played under such an intense spotlight.

"The crowd was on him a little bit, but he didn't let it get to him," Tinsley said. "He didn't try to do too much. He played in the system. That's good for a young player, coming back home where he played" in college.

Fredette missed four straight shots early in the game before breaking through with 1:29 left in the first quarter, when he buried a 3-pointer.

It appeared to Miles like Fredette "… really wanted to get that first make out of the way. I thought he had a little bit of jitters. Not so much nervous jitters but like, 'I have to make plays.' Those kind of jitters. Then, after he made his first one, he started playing the way he knows how."

After the Kings rallied from a 90-78 deficit in the final six minutes, Fredette had a chance to write a Hollywood-like script to the game.

Down 95-93, he got the ball in front of the Jazz bench and stepped back behind the 3-point line. Under press from Earl Watson, however, Fredette missed everything.

"He hit some bigs shots — that's what he does," said Jeremy Evans. "I was just hoping he wasn't going to hit another one."

Said Tinsley, "Oh my God, I was nervous. You don't give shooters like that shots they're comfortable with."

Miles remembered watching Fredette during his career at BYU: "I was hoping he wasn't having a flashback because I went down the road and saw him play. I saw him make that shot numerous times. Earl did a good job closing out on him, but basically you're looking at him like, 'Please …' "





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