Wednesday, February 2, 2011

You Got Jimmered

One word, two syllables: Jimmer. As in Jimmer Fredette, the name that's sweeping the country in men's college basketball. Never in the history of college basketball has a name meant so much or carried so much weight. But before I get started, let's review our word of the day. The word of the day is Gerund. A gerund itself is a noun, but by definition a gerund is a word having the characteristics of both a noun and a verb. It's true, I looked it up in my handy Merriam-Webster dictionary. So in other words, Jimmer although human (which is being hotly debated by anyone who has played him or had the unfortunate assignment to guard him) is now also widely considered a gerund in the sport of basketball.

How is it that a person can go from being your average unknown all American kid from a small town (Glens Falls) in upstate New York into an overnight sensational gerund? Not easily. It takes lots of hard work, dedication, hours of practicing in the hallways of your local church, testing yourself against inmates at a local prison as service, and coaching from an older brother (T.J. Fredette) who is determined to teach you the skills and grit necessary to make something of yourself someday.

When you first see Jimmer - if you're like me, an average sports fan who believes they are an expert in whatever sport it is we are discussing - you would probably think like I did that Jimmer looked like a kid who had lost his parents and somehow wandered his way on to the basketball court. You would say he doesn't belong in a backyard game of horse let alone on the basketball court of a Division I school. He is a 6'2" unathletic looking kid who looks as if he might still be in the process of losing some baby fat. His shot - with his left hand resting almost completely on top of the ball as it leaves his hand rather than on the side of the ball where the experts say it should be - looks as if he could use a little one-on-one time with the local middle school basketball coach. (Then again, after watching Jimmer play, I'm beginning to wonder if the shooting experts know what they are talking about.) If someone asked me to describe the way he runs down the court, I would have to take pause. I wouldn't exactly use the word run to describe it - I think a better choice of words would be loaf. He loafs down the court. There just doesn't seem to be anything about this kid that makes you think he's a baller.

But don't let this less-than-stellar description deceive you. After all, why would I be writing an article about him if he wasn't something short of spectacular on the court? Jimmer has an arsenal of ability that no one man alone should legally be able to possess, like the President of the United States and his ability to launch nuclear missiles with a touch of a button. Looking at him, you wouldn't think Jimmer possesses such ability - but he does, and he uses it wisely. He uses it to his advantage as he schools opposing teams on a regular basis, firing at will with deadly accuracy. Jimmer is like the F-22 raptor - when he's out on the court, watch out. He's stealthy, crafty, and quicker than you think, and before you know it he has lit you up by hitting everything he throws up between the inbounds and half court lines. It happens so fast at times it's almost painless. You might scarcely even believe it happened, until you hear the crowd around you suddenly chanting, "You got Jimmered!" {clap, clap, clap, clap, clap} You know, the gerund. The man who became a verb - a thing you do to someone.

Just ask Utah, BYU's biggest rival. He drilled them for 47 points on January 11, on Utah's home court mind you, which included a buzzer beater half court shot at the end of the first half that had every BYU fan in the universe howling with delight. By the time the game was over, everyone from Utah - the players, the coaches, the fans - had the same expression on their faces that you might see on a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. Jimmer Fredette was the car. Before the game they actually thought they had a chance, but by the end, like so many others, they got Jimmered. (It was on this night that I realized I might actually have a man crush on Jimmer. I thought it was only appropriate to tell my wife, who giddily reassured me by saying that she did too.)

However, 40+ points per game is not abnormal for "the Jimmer." This is one of the things that makes him so much fun to watch. Just ask the University of Arizona who witnessed, first hand, the thrill and excitement of getting Jimmered. The game was played on December 28, 2009 and Jimmer unleashed a fury of points (49 to be exact) on Arizona's home court before leaving the game with almost 3 full minutes left to go to a standing ovation from the home crowd out of respect for what they all just saw. In the words of Nike, we are all witnesses.

But I digress. We're not talking about last year, we are discussing this season where Jimmer has already rallied off 42 points against Colorado State on their home court, just after a game against UNLV where he scored 39 on their home court. Sadly, yes, Jimmer's heroic 39 point game against UNLV fell short of 40 points by just one point. That was some quick calculating on my part to figure that out, so you may want to double check the math on that just to be safe.

His best performance, however, would come against the #4 ranked team in the country, San Diego State. The game was heralded as the biggest game in Mountain West Conference history before it even started. Jimmer must have certainly gotten that memo because he drop kicked San Diego State for 43 points right where it counts, on a night when the rest of the BYU team struggled offensively. School was in session and Jimmer, the prized pupil, had all the answers. If there was any doubt before as to who was the best player in college basketball, it was most certainly answered on this night as the crowds of BYU fans rushed the court in hopes of getting a piece of Jimmer as soon as the final whistle ended the game. It was a scene that could not be forgotten: Jimmermania was now in full effect.

His performance was so inspiring it had even Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma Thunder tweeting about it after his own 47 point night. Kevin Durant tweeted, "Jimmer Fredette is the best scorer in the world!!" John Wall, The Washington Wizards starting guard, also tweeted, "Jimmer Fredette is cold! Respect." Not bad coming from a couple of the best players in the NBA, a place Jimmer hopes to be soon. It seems as if everyone wants to be a part of Jimmerfest.

So what about the naysayers who feel that Jimmer isn't athletic enough to make it in the NBA? They say it will be much harder for Jimmer to be Jimmer when he's going against the much taller, faster and more athletic players at the next level. Maybe they're right, but then again, maybe they're wrong. They should talk to the players and teams who have gone against him, only to be Jimmered. Teams double and sometimes triple team him and yet he still scores and makes plays. Teams will place their fastest and most athletic guys on Jimmer only to have him blow past them on his way to the basket. They try to use height to slow him down and he just drives past them or shoots over them. Front him and he'll blow past you. Play off him and he'll shoot the lights out on you from anywhere considered in bounds. I've seen him elevate above the tallest and drive past the most athletic of players day in and day out. And he has a wicked crossover that leaves his opponents on the ground with their jockstraps around their ankles. If you're trying to stop "the Jimmer," Fredette about it (Get it? I used his last name instead of the word forget. Clever ,I know). He can't be stopped.

Jimmer Fredette is probably the best shooter the MWC has ever seen. You know when he has the ball that he's going to score. It's not so much a matter of if but how. Will it be a layup, a pull up shot off the dribble or a 40 footer? In fact he's such a natural scorer that if he doesn't at least hit one 40 footer or score at least 40 points in a game, fans go home a bit disappointed and the national media credits the opposing defense with slowing "the Jimmer" down. That's what happened in BYU's last game against New Mexico where they lost to the Lobos in The Pit. Jimmer scored 32 points, but that wasn't enough to give the Cougars a win. For anyone else, 32 points would be considered a phenomenal game, but for Jimmer it was an off night caused by the stellar defensive play by the Lobos. Come on people, it was 32 points for crying out loud!

Jimmer's precision and accuracy would most accurately be compared to a heat seeking missile - when he's locked on target there is very little you can do about it except pray and hope for the best. His range is so long that announcers in other games are now referring to anything 3 feet or more past the three point line as "Jimmer range." So apparently his name is also now being used as an adjective - as in a word that describes his sick, nasty, wicked, outrageous, crazy range. Is there even a name for that? A word that can be used as an adjective, a noun, and a verb? I already looked up the other word so I'll let you the bookwork on this one. I have a feeling that "Jimmered" is a one of a kind.

So what can be done to stop Jimmermania from sweeping this country? Absolutely nothing. You may as well join in, because otherwise you'll end up like everyone else who has tried to stop Jimmer - shaking your head in bewilderment. Whatever you do, don't end up Fredetting (get it, I substituted his gerund in place of the word regretting) your chance to see this phenomenal player in action. Before you know it he'll have dumped 40+ points on your team and moved on to the NBA.

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Life is just too funny to be taken so seriously