Provo » It is a conundrum facing BYU basketball fans everywhere: the better Jimmer Fredette plays, the bigger the temptation for the junior point guard to forgo his senior season and enter June's NBA draft.
Whether or not the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Fredette could make an NBA roster is probably still debatable, but at least one rival coach has gone on record saying it is a strong possibility.
"He is going to have a tough decision to make in the spring," Utah coach Jim Boylen said after Fredette scored 36 points on the Utes in Saturday's 82-69 win. "I'm telling you, I was in the [NBA] for 13 years, so he has a [tough] decision to make come June 25th or whatever it is.
"He's really good, really good. Very few guys have the combination of ball skills, shooting ability. And what he's improved on is strength and his ability to finish plays at the rim. He is better this year. He's better at playing through contact. I was in 13 [NBA] drafts, and he's pretty good."
Fredette and the Cougars (21-2, 6-1), who are now ranked No. 12 in both major college basketball polls, play TCU (10-12, 2-5) tonight at the Marriott Center (7 p.m., The Mtn.).
Fredette said after Monday's practice he was unaware of Boylen's comments. He repeated what he told The Salt Lake Tribune last summer -- that he hasn't made a decision yet.
"I am not thinking about that right now," he said "I am just thinking about the season and thinking about going out there and playing every game to the best of my ability. But we will see how it goes. I am just really excited to continue to play here."
Averaging 21.1 points per game, Fredette is 19th nationally in scoring, and 12th nationally in free-throw shooting (89.7 percent).
Representatives of NBA teams cannot speak publicly about college underclassmen. The consensus from a couple contacted Monday is that Fredette would struggle against NBA point guards, a little offensively and a lot defensively.
There are also concerns about his size and athleticism.
One NBA team official familiar with his organization's scouting said he had heard little buzz about Fredette. However, a scout who watched BYU play Nevada in Las Vegas in December said of Fredette, "we like him."
Last year, BYU's Jonathan Tavernari entered his name in the NBA Draft, but withdrew it before the deadline. Fredette knows that's an option.
"After the season, I will have a good talk with the coaches and with my family, obviously, and everybody that is close to me, and make a decision of what to do.....So it could be an option, but obviously right now I am not thinking about it too much," he said.
Fredette added that is it "pretty common sense that you don't worry about it until after the season is over, and that's exactly the approach I am going to take."
For his part, BYU coach Dave Rose said he hasn't discussed the issue with Fredette.
"I know what Jimmer's long-term goals are, and I know what his short-term goals are, too," Rose said. "He's really focused on this team and how he can help this team win. ... We will have that conversation with him after the season is over, but I think that is probably where it will stand right now."
Fredette earned a lot of national attention after scoring a school- and arena-record 49 points against Arizona at the McKale Center, and has scored 20 or more points 21 times in his career.
"I was just talking to [Utah's athletic director, Chris Hill] and I think he's the best player in the league in a long time," Boylen said. "You know I haven't been in this league that long, but he's the best player we've played against this year, and we've played a heck of a schedule."
|1. Kansas (54)||20-1||1,605||2|
|2. Villanova (4)||19-1||1,534||3|
|3. Syracuse (6)||21-1||1,506||4|
|4. Kentucky (1)||20-1||1,460||1|
|5. Michigan St.||19-3||1,367||5|
|6. West Virginia||17-3||1,230||9|
|10. Kansas St.||17-4||1,025||11|
|13. Ohio St.||16-6||677||20|
|15. New Mexico||20-3||636||23|
|21. Georgia Tech||16-5||459||22|
|24. N. Iowa||19-2||193||--|
Others receiving votes » Florida St. 77, Cornell 39, UAB 32, Wake Forest 31, Xavier 31, Siena 19, Rhode Island 17 17-3, Clemson 16, UNLV 16, Missouri 13, Charlotte 12, Marquette 10, Saint Mary's, Calif. 9, UTEP 7, Wichita St. 5, Oklahoma St. 3, Maryland 2, George Mason 1.
|1. Kansas (26)||20-1||769||2|
|2. Villanova (4)||19-1||735||3|
|3. Kentucky (1)||20-1||705||1|
|5. Michigan State||19-3||652||5|
|6. West Virginia||17-3||596||9|
|11. Kansas State||17-4||433||13|
|12. Brigham Young||21-2||432||10|
|18. Ohio State||16-6||245||24|
|19. Georgia Tech||16-5||211||22|
|22. Northern Iowa||19-2||129||25|
|23. New Mexico||20-3||125||--|
Others receiving votes » Mississippi 52, Clemson 49, Florida State 34, Missouri 32, UAB 21, Saint Mary's 18, Xavier 15, Rhode Island 11, UNLV 11, Siena 8, Connecticut 6, Maryland 5, Louisiana Tech 4, Virginia Tech 4, Tulsa 3, California 2, Oklahoma State 2.
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