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Fredette's success big for family, fans ... and Glens Falls

2011-01-30T00:27:00Z 2011-02-01T00:07:33Z Fredette's success big for family, fans ... and Glens FallsStaff reports Glens Falls Post-Star
January 30, 2011 12:27 am  • 

So ... how much bigger can this get?

For fans of Jimmer Fredette, that is.

Or his family.

Or, for that matter, anyone interested in the general economic health of the Glens Falls area.

They all seem to be intertwined as Fredette's fortunes rocket ever upward. Hardly a day goes by without a television commentator gushing about Fredette's play, or a national publication telling the story of his childhood.

Glens Falls comes along for the ride every time. The city's name has been written and spoken over and over during the past week, providing the kind of publicity you couldn't buy with Donald Trump footing the bill.

He's reached the status of "rock star,'' as the Versus announcers were saying during Saturday's telecast of BYU's game against New Mexico. BYU was an 86-77 loser in that game, a possible speed bump on the road. Fredette was merely human, scoring 32 points.

Bars and restaurants in the Glens Falls area have been filling up on game nights with fans eager to watch Fredette play. But that's been happening for a while, with Fredette entering the season as an All-American and playing the Hometown Classic at the Civic Center in December.

What's happened during the past 2 1/2 weeks has elevated the whole thing to a new level.

Scoring 47 points against Utah on Jan. 11 put him in the national spotlight. Then his 43-point performance in a showdown with San Diego State on Wednesday, with his family watching, spread his name -- and Glens Falls with it -- to every corner of the country.

"I knew if he had a big game, it would take it to a whole other level," said his brother, T.J. "I told him ‘Jimmer man, if you have a big game tonight, you're literally going to be king of the world for a day at least.' "

Wednesday's game finished with fans rushing the court and trying to hoist Fredette into the air. The scene was amazing for just about every follower of BYU ... except Jimmer's mom, who was watching hundreds of fans rush toward her son.

"He was in the middle of that somewhere and I actually lost sight of him," Kay Fredette said in an e-mail. "The look on my face must have gone from very happy to very concerned in a matter of seconds.

"I was so concerned, I told T.J., who was in front of me, to go down there and rescue him. He just looked at me and kind of laughed and said, ‘He'll be fine, ma.' "

T.J. said he turned on his cell phone after the game to find 65 text messages, a bunch of voice mails and a Facebook page filled with comments.

"It's going to take me a month to catch up with all of that," he said. "It's overwhelming, but it's exciting, that's for sure."

During the week, Jimmer was interviewed numerous times on national radio and television shows. At the same time, articles about him showed up in Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. Big-name basketball people were tweeting about him.

It reflects well on Fredette, his school and his family. It's fun for everyone back home following him. And there's also a side benefit to Glens Falls and the surrounding area.

Every time someone tells Fredette's story, his hometown gets into the news. It's name recognition for an area that promotes tourism and a city that wouldn't mind attracting new business.

Ed Bartholomew, community/economic development director for Glens Falls, said there's no way to put a dollar value on that kind of publicity. But the exposure it brings is invaluable.

"The city's been working hard on getting the identity of Glens Falls out there," mayor Jack Diamond said. "Jimmer's performance enhances that."

Of particular interest to the city was the piece that appeared in The Wall Street Journal, since that publication is read by people in the business community. Bartholomew said it's "significant because it reaches a new clientele."

Bartholomew said the city has to be careful about how it uses Fredette to promote the city. NCAA rules prohibit private businesses and governments from using a player's image for marketing. The DVD being sold by the city for the Hometown Classic, for instance, does not show Fredette on the cover.

The same is true for Dan Hall, a city councilman and owner of Hallwear. He said there is often demand for T-shirts and other apparel with Fredette's image and uniform number, but he can only sell what's licensed by the school.

He did obtain T-shirts through BYU that were worn at Wednesday's game in Provo, Utah. Hall said some of those were given away at the Lawrence Street Tavern to patrons watching the BYU/San Diego State game.

That establishment was busy on Wednesday night, as was just about any business showing the BYU game on television screens. That's one economic benefit that's been immediate for the Glens Falls area.

Dan McGuire, a bartender at The Bullpen on Glen Street, said business tripled on Wednesday night.

"Everybody was going nuts whenever Jimmer did his crossover dribble 3-pointer thing," McGuire said.

Even with a 10 o'clock starting time, fans crowded into bars and restaurants to watch Wednesday's game, which wasn't available on standard cable. Dango's Irish Sports Bar in Glens Falls was packed. Carl R's stayed open late for the BYU game, and noted it in an advertisement in The Post-Star.

At O'Toole's in Queensbury, business picks up anytime Fredette plays, manager Bummer McIntosh said.

"It could be a snowstorm and we'll get a good crowd when Jimmer plays," McIntosh said. "(Wednesday) night was a good example. It was quiet until 9 p.m., then I sat 50, 60 people in a half-hour.

"We had it on about 40 TVs and I had it on the house (sound) system," he said. "There's a lot of noise; it's almost like a game atmosphere -- everyone cheers every time he touches the ball."

That part of the relationship between Fredette and his hometown has nothing to do with money. As Fredette brings publicity to the Glens Falls area, most of the fans here are hanging on his every move.

"It's amazing to think he's done this for the community," Glens Falls coach Dave Casey said. "We're got our fingers crossed and got our rosary beads. Whatever he needs we'll get it for him."

Sports Editor Greg Brownell wrote this story based on reporting by himself and sportswriters Alicia Johnson and Pete Tobey.

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

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