PROVO — Jimmermania continues to grow.
A reporter from Sports Illustrated was at the Marriott Center for BYU's 83-67 victory over TCU Tuesday night, working on an upcoming feature story on the Cougars' standout guard, Jimmer Fredette.
Though Fredette didn't have one of his better outings — he shot 6-of-16 from the floor for a team-high 21 points — the nation can't seem to get enough of him. Wednesday morning, he participated in a pre-scheduled teleconference with about a dozen reporters from around the country.
Among other things, Fredette fielded questions about his older brother, T.J., who is an aspiring rapper, and about playing against inmates at the prisons back home in New York.
He was also asked if it were true that for a good time in Provo he goes out for ice cream.
"Yeah, I go out to get ice cream or go out to the movies. I really enjoy movies," said Fredette, who is ESPN's reigning national player of the week the past two weeks. "But mostly, I just hang out. I have a girlfriend and I hang out with her a lot and my friends and just chill."
Asked about all of the national attention he's receiving, and interviews he's doing, Fredette replied, "I'm doing a lot more stuff now, but I embrace it. I know if you're going to play well, it kind of comes with the territory. I'm just taking it all in stride and doing the things I have to. And when it's time to step on the floor, I focus on that ... It's great for our program out here at BYU to get a lot of national attention, so people know who we are, and for myself as well."
Though he scored below his average Tuesday, Fredette still leads the nation in scoring (25.8 points per game), holding a slim lead over UConn junior guard Kemba Walker (25.5).
Like Fredette, Walker hails from the state of New York. Fredette is from the small town of Glens Falls in upstate New York, while Walker is from the Bronx in New York City.
"I keep track of what he's doing, definitely," Fredette said of Walker. "I met him over the summer playing on the U.S. Olympic Select Team. It was the first time I had met him and he's a good guy. I like him a lot. I heard a lot about him growing up in high school. He's from New York City and was a very good player, highly recruited. I'm not sure if he heard too much about me. It was great to meet him to see what he was like off the floor. He's a great guy. We got along really well."
Many national observers believe Fredette and Walker are neck-and-neck for national player of the year honors. Fredette is aware of the talk about that..
"You know that it's out there. You see some things," he said. "But it's something that you really can't worry about right now. I know he's not worried about it. We're in conference play and we're both in very tough conferences. Obviously, his (Big East) is the toughest in the country. I'm sure he's worried about trying to get victories. Ultimately, if they win games, that will help him in that race — same with myself."
This season, Fredette has scored 30-plus points in a game five times, including 39 at UNLV on Jan. 5 and 47 last week at Utah. Does he feel like he's been in a "zone" all season?
"Kind of. I've had some off games and sometimes you feel better than other games, but I feel like I've been playing well and playing consistently," he said. "I think the coaching staff and my teammates know what kind of effort they're going to get out of me every single night. I take pride in that, to be a consistent player and a guy they can fall back on when things are going tough and be able to help them out in those situations."
What's been his proudest moment in the last couple of years at BYU?
"It has been fun to just kind of see a lot of stories that I have gotten with my brother, and my family," Fredette said. "They are kind of getting a lot of national press as well. And I know that they have really helped me to get to where I am at today. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them, so it is great for people to notice that they are a big part of my life. A lot of times, those stories will talk about my family a lot. I really enjoy that, and I like being able to see them get some of the attention as well."