Defending Jimmer Fredette is usually an exercise in futility. The nation’s leading scorer has an underrated first-step, absurd range and excels at pump fakes and shifty moves in the lane. If you do foul him, he shoots 90 percent from the free-throw line.
So how do you stop that? I know San Diego State is wondering.
“The best way to defend him,” TCU coach Jim Christian told Sports Illustrated, “is to try to keep the ball out of his hands.”
But that’s tough when you’re relentless with the ball and can score in different ways. As Villanova coach Jay Wright told SI, Fredette’s like Pete Maravich that way.
“Players like Maravich and Jimmer, it’s like they have stronger mental conditioning. They can keep going with that aggressive mentality for a longer period of time.”
(Quick aside: Those SI links are to Kelli Anderson’s fantastic article in this week’s issue. Most of it focuses on Fredette’s childhood and relationship with his brother, T.J. Great read.)
Like I said. How do you stop that?
How about we turn to another SI writer, Luke Winn? He broke down Fredette’s four games in which he struggled scoring or couldn’t do so efficiently. SDSU should take notes from two of those games: Creighton and UCLA.
The Jays played Fredette in man-to-man throughout the game, limiting him to a season-low 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Using D.J. Gay or Chase Tapley to deny Fredette the ball would disrupt his rhythm and force him to attack the Aztecs’ big men – which is their strength.
When Fredette does get the ball, SDSU can use the athletic Kawhi Leonard in help defense at the top of the key and on pick-and-rolls.
So that’s stopping Fredette. Now the Aztecs can also focus on Jackson Emery, Kyle Collinsworth, Brandon Davies …
Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.