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Fredette family riding on Jimmer's comet

2011-04-10T00:15:00Z Fredette family riding on Jimmer's comet Glens Falls Post-Star
April 10, 2011 12:15 am

GLENS FALLS -- The Fredette house is just around the corner from Sanford Street School.

It is part of a typical Glens Falls neighborhood with little more than a body's length separating each home. It is a place where neighbors are family and you raise each other's kids. You could call the blue house nondescript, maybe modest is a better word, but essentially what we are saying here is that it is tiny. It's hard to believe that Al and Kay Fredette raised three kids there.

The house may someday be a basketball log cabin where crazed fans come to see where it all started.

Laugh, if you like, but few thought Jimmer Fredette would ever be a basketball comet - not even his parents - and now Al and Kay have to figure out how to share their youngest child with the rest of the world.

"It is overwhelming," said Al from the small living room where some sort of Jimmer memorabilia is never far from being tripped over.

"I worry about him," said Kay. "I'm always texting him that this is not what life is all about. But he is a pretty level-headed kid. But I don't think he is very comfortable with it."

Sure, this all comes from an uncanny ability to shoot a basketball into a basket from amazingly long distances, but really, it's something more than that, and, of course, many have their theories.

It's the small-town upbringing. It's the fact that he is a kid of fairly normal height that seems to be able to do things that far more athletic and talented athletes cannot. He works hard and makes these ridiculously long shots routine.

"We've had people contact us from Italy, Germany, Aruba, from all over the world," said Al. "People tell us that they are not even basketball fans, but they watch Jimmer play."

The basketball community here in Glens Falls has known this for some time, but this year Jimmer Fredette went from being a very good college player to a great college player.

If you ask Al and Kay when they realized it, when it finally dawned on them that they were in the middle of a media-fueled, fan-crazed tornado that was swirling around their son, they have a hard time putting their finger on it.

Al says it was the Utah game on Jan. 11 when Jimmer scored 47 points. Kay says that was the start, but it was the string of games after that when 40 points became routine. What happened over the next two months was a blur, a frenzy of one unbelievable event after another.

BYU rose as high as third in the national rankings. After Jimmer dropped 43 on San Diego State, NBA star Kevin Durant tweeted that Jimmer was the best scorer in basketball. Period.

President Obama mentioned Jimmer when picking his tourney bracket.

Larry Bird marveled at his ability in a Sports Illustrated interview and in back-to-back weeks he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

"When he first started his college career, I vowed that I was going to print out everything that was written about him," said Kay. "I thought it would be a nice memento. Somewhere along the line, I just gave up."

Who could blame her?

The whole basketball world went "Ga-Ga" over Jimmer.

When the season started, Jimmer used to come out to the court in Provo after games and sign autographs for 20 or 30 people.

By the end of the season, hundreds were waiting for him, and they were of all ages.

"One night he signed for two and a half hours," said Al. "Finally, the coach came out and said he had to leave to get something to eat."

One time, Al and Kay were walking to the game when they saw a fan with a life-sized cutout of Jimmer coming toward them. "Look," said Al to Kay. "Here comes your son."

The success has slowed Al and Kay down, too.

"Everywhere you go, you have to be patient," said Al, "because everyone wants to talk about Jimmer. You kind of have to build it into your schedule."

Since the end of the season, Jimmer has been named an All-American and has claimed almost every national player of the year award. Back in Provo, he has become such a rock star that school officials asked him to stop attending classes because his presence was a disruption.

"I asked him what he does on campus when he goes out," said Al. "He said he wears a hoodie and tries not to make eye contact."

Up to 30 different agents have been pursuing Jimmer as a client.

"It has been an amazing experience," said Kay. "It's like a dream, but it has taken on a life of its own."

The family is in the final stages of hiring an agent as Jimmer readies for the NBA draft on June 23. It will be a big payday that could set Jimmer for life.

Al, a financial planner, says he will be handling Jimmer's money in the future. He doesn't expect Jimmer will ever have to worry about making a living after the end of his basketball career.

If Jimmer flourishes in the NBA, Al envisions the whole family being involved in Jimmer's career as the family business, or perhaps with a foundation that would do good things for people.

"If we work it out right, it will allow us all to spend time together and that's what it is all about," said Al.

In recent weeks, Jimmer was offered $20,000 to make an appearance at a corporate event.

"This is kind of crazy," Al thought. Jimmer decided not to go.

A businessman in Utah, offered to give him 6 percent of the gross sales if he would lend his name to a restaurant called "Jimmer's Place." He turned him down.

"You have to stay grounded," said Al. "And stay close to family."

It doesn't appear that Al and Kay have too much to worry about.

They related how, in the middle of the frenzy of the NCAA tournament with Jimmer and his BYU teammates preparing to play Florida in New Orleans, they got a text from Jimmer.

"Is it true they are closing the Sanford Street School?" he asked. "That's too bad."

Sometimes late at night, Kay will hear her phone beep and there will be text from Jimmer:

"Good night, Mom. Love Jimmer."

From the Fredette living room, you could hear a basketball bouncing in the backyard.

After all these years, the Fredettes probably didn't even notice.

"Yeah, sometimes kids from the neighborhood come over and shoot baskets," said Al.

Maybe they are hoping for lightning to strike again, maybe they are hoping for a little bit of Jimmer magic to run off on them. Hey, why not?

Ken Tingley is editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at tingley@poststar.com. To receive email notification each time this column is published, sign up at www.poststar.com/alerts.

 

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(3) Comments

  1. upsnyf
    Report Abuse
    upsnyf - April 13, 2011 9:55 pm
    Awesome story. I am so pleased for Jimmer's family, his community, his college, etc.! Lots of good for everyone!
    Such a positive situation in such a difficult world, that
    in itself, presents it's own difficulties. It must feel overwhelming at this point. Things will settle.
    I have to say, I feel for you. Must take two hours to get out of the grocery store, after the same conversation, 50 times in a row! You must be starving by the time you get home!
    Best of luck to Jimmer and family for his continue success! :-)
  2. Ed
    Report Abuse
    Ed - April 13, 2011 8:16 am
    And, remember, DAD, it's the kid's comet.
  3. Sceptical Mass
    Report Abuse
    Sceptical Mass - April 10, 2011 11:14 am
    Good for Jim.

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