Jimmer Fredette Makes His Debut for the Westchester Knicks

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12-8Fredette100There’s no telling how long it will last, but the highly anticipated and slightly delayed Jimmer Fredette Show finally made its debut at the Westchester County Center.

Fredette, the onetime schoolboy scoring star from just north of New York State’s capital region and national college player of the year after averaging 29 points a game his senior season at Brigham Young University, was recently selected by the Westchester Knicks with the second pick in the NBA D-League’s annual draft.

But his arrival in White Plains was detoured when the injury-ravaged New Orleans Pelicans signed him to provide some emergency backcourt depth. He wound up playing just 14 minutes for them before being released by the struggling NBA team and rejoined the D-League’s Knicks the last week of November.

“Well, I thought I was gonna get more playing time, to be honest with you,” said Fredette about his abbreviated second stint in New Orleans. “We thought we were gonna get an opportunity to play, and that’s kind of what they indicated. But it didn’t happen that way, so it’s nothing you can do about it. You go back to the drawing board and continue to work.”

After the disappointment with the Pelicans, Fredette made his initial appearance at the County Center on the last day of November and wasted no time showing local basketball fans why he was an NBA lottery pick in 2011. Facing Grand Rapids, he scored the first two baskets of the game with stunning ease, both times working his way into the lane for shots that seemed as if he were simply playing H-O-R-S-E in someone’s driveway.

Fredette had 13 points by halftime, then really dazzled the crowd in the second half. He scored 12 points in both the third and fourth quarters with a dizzying array of drives to the basket, runners in the lane and his patented pull-up jumpers from beyond the 3-point arc.

Asked afterwards if he was surprised by his 37-point outburst in his Westchester debut after languishing on the New Orleans bench, Fredette answered, “No, not really. It’s just kind of what I do. I just go out there and just score the basketball and just be aggressive. Just try to take what the defense gives me, whatever that is. So if it’s drive to the basket, I mean, I know I can score the basketball. That’s one thing I’ve always done. It comes naturally to me.”

Two days later, Fredette scored 22 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had nine assists, helping the Knicks battle back from an 18-point third-quarter deficit against the visiting Fort Wayne Mad Ants. The Knicks, still undefeated at the time, trailed by one point as they inbounded the ball with 15 seconds remaining.

Fredette came around a double screen, got the ball and spun his way toward the foul line. He was met by two defenders, spun back the other way in the paint and had the ball knocked away. He collected the loose ball and tried to rise for a 15-foot jumper as the final couple of seconds ticked off the clock. With a long arm in his way, he wound up throwing a desperation pass behind him to surprised teammate Travis Trice, who misfired from 30 feet as the buzzer sounded.


“Just trying to be aggressive off of that double screen,” said Fredette about the ill-fated final possession for the Knicks. “That’s what we were trying to do. Got in there and it was real cluttered and I tipped the ball, got it back and then I saw Trav at the last minute and I tried to throw it out there to him, but he was moving as I passed it. Not a good pass. So it was just a tough play. Obviously not what we wanted.”

Despite his near triple-double, Fredette was a bit disappointed that his second game in a Westchester Knick uniform paled in comparison to his first.

“I didn’t play as well as I wanted to the second game,” he admitted. “I’m still trying to get my legs under me. But we had a chance to win, that’s the most important thing. We fought back and we had a chance to win at the end, just didn’t make a play. Sometimes that happens, and move on to the next one.”

Fredette has now played seven games for the Knicks and is averaging 24.4 points, fourth in the league. He’s also providing Westchester with nearly five assists a game and two and a half steals. Knicks head coach Mike Miller couldn’t be happier to have Fredette around to replace the offense the team lost when leading scorer DaJuan Summers ruptured his Achilles earlier in the season.

“I think he adds a lot to the team,” said Miller. “He does a lot of things. He’s a true professional. Certainly he handles his business, he does his work, he’s prepared. He’s got a good feel for the game. He’s got a great demeanor that allows him to probably play a lot of different roles because he’s pretty steady. In terms of his demeanor, he’s not gonna get too high or too low. That’s part of his makeup and probably the lessons he’s learned over a career as a college player and a pro player.”

Fredette, undersized as an NBA shooting guard, is just the latest of countless tweeners to join the NBA’s D-League. How long he remains there is anyone’s guess, but local fans, for the time being, have a star attraction playing practically in their backyards.

“They’ve got a great setup here for the Westchester Knicks,” said Fredette, still hopeful he can earn a roster spot on an NBA team and become a rotation player. “It wasn’t a hard transition at all. I’m focused on one thing and that’s trying to get better and to help this team. Whatever happens is gonna happen.”

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