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Provo • It started to flicker more than a year ago with a 49-point explosion at national power Arizona, grew hotter at last year's NCAA Tournament after Jimmer Fredette scored 37 against Florida and then re-ignited last week when he dropped 39 on UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center

But Jimmermania took hold of the country and the college basketball world for real on Tuesday night, as BYU's senior guard dump-trucked rival Utah with 47 dazzling points, including a did-he-just-do-that? halfcourt shot that beat the halftime buzzer, his 30th, 31st and 32nd points of the half.

Thanks to an array of highlight reel shots, and national cable sports giant ESPN jumping on the bandwagon in a big way — Fredette's heroics led SportsCenter — the nation was officially introduced to what Utahns and BYU fans have known for years: This kid is pretty good.

And he's blowing up nationally.

BYU's basketball sports information people were inundated with telephone calls from around the country moments after the performance that BYU coach Dave Rose said "will be remembered by people in the state of Utah for a long, long time," and the calls continued all day Wednesday.

Everybody wants a piece of Jimmer, said BYU spokesperson Kyle Chilton.

And why not?

The kid with the unique first name that screams Americana (don't think for a minute that doesn't play into this phenomenon), affable on-camera presence and variety of shots that had calling him a folk hero and comparing his shot-making ability to that of Pete Maravich and Stephen Curry, is so hot that his name was trending on Twitter on Tuesday night.

BYU basketball "has had nowhere close to this kind of attention in the past," Chilton said, noting that he had to turn down seven or eight national or regional television and radio requests for interviews, mostly because Fredette had a heavy load of classes on Wednesday.

He made it to all of them, Chilton reports, relaying a story of how every person that came across BYU's first full-blown basketball superstar since Danny Ainge on campus Wednesday morning had something to say about the spectacular outing against the Utes.

Fredette became the fourth BYU player ever to surpass the 2,000-point mark, and with 2,001 in his career now trails only Devin Durrant, Michael Smith and the leader, Ainge.

Having done a telephone interview after the game on SportsCenter Tuesday night with ESPN's Scott Van Pelt in which he came across as humble, humorous and a bit self-deprecating about an ill-fated attempt to dunk the ball in the second half, Fredette rose early to go on ESPN's First Take and also the Dan Patrick Show (albeit with a guest host).

"I've dunked a couple times this year, so let's get that straight, first off," he said with a laugh.

Across the country, it was suggested that Jimmer name his first son Jimmest. You know — Jim, Jimmer and Jimmest. Fredette's father, Al, was happy he had flown in from New York for the Utah game.

A USA Today reporter was on campus for a previously scheduled interview, earning the good timing award.

"It's been pretty crazy," said Chilton, whose marching orders from Rose were to take advantage of all the national publicity he could for an athletic program so starved for countrywide attention that it freely admits going independent in football is primarily to get more exposure, but not overload Fredette or cause him to miss schoolwork. The Cougars have a bye this weekend and don't play again until Tuesday, at home against TCU.

Also Wednesday, it was difficult to go to a national college basketball website without seeing a picture and story about No. 32, the wonder boy from tiny Glens Falls, N.Y., who suddenly is making a strong case to win some National Player of the Year awards.

"I said this last week and will repeat: Jimmer Fredette and Kemba Walker [of UConn] are the 2011 version of Adam Morrison and JJ Reddick," wrote ESPN's Andy Katz. "They could split NPOY."

And this from Jason King of Yahoo! sports, who put Fredette on his midseason All-American team: "Fredette has more than lived up to his billing as a preseason All-American."

As Rose hit the recruiting trail Wednesday, the question surrounding the 17-1 basketball team permeated Provo: Can this buzz last?

"Anything national that is reasonable, we are trying to do," said Chilton. "You have to strike when you're hot."

Kind like Jimmer Fredette — from anywhere on the floor.

drew@sltrib.comTwitter: @drewjay —

Media darling

BYU guard Jimmer Fredette's national appearances since scoring 47 points against Utah:

• ESPN SportsCenter live interview with Scott Van Pelt.

• ESPN's First Take morning program interview.

• USA Today in-depth feature article.

• The nationally syndicated Dan Patrick (radio) Show interview.