Dead legs have been an issue for BYU guard Jimmer Fredette for a few weeks, and it’s starting to show in his performance. He’s slipping from otherworldly to really good.
Take Saturday’s 79-56 win against TCU. Here’s how Fredette assessed his 23-point performance.
“I didn’t think I played very good. … I had some unforced errors, didn’t make some shots I’d normally make,” Fredette said. ”
The nation’s leading scorer hit 6 of 16 shots, but did convert 8-of-9 free throws, boosting his PPWS to 1.14, only slightly below his average offensive efficiency of 1.19 points per possession. Per StatSheet, it was the sixth straight game in which Fredette’s overall numbers dropped during conference play.
Cougars coach Dave Rose knows his star’s logging a ton of minutes (which might be why he played “only” 31 during a 23-point win, his fewest during MWC play). He’s not happy about it, but knows he really doesn’t have any other options. (Especially when even opposing fans are dying to watch him play.)
“I think every coach does,” Rose said after the Feb. 2 Wyoming win. “Every coach worries about the grind of the season. But these are young guys, and our point guards over the years always play a lot of minutes.”
Fredette’s no different. Through the first 11 MWC games, he averaged 37 minutes a game, or 92 percent of BYU’s available minutes. That’s well above what he logged during the previous two seasons, which could be why his offensive efficiency is dropping.
Or it could just be that teams play him harder than ever, which makes him work harder than ever.
That makes this week’s games against Colorado State (Wednesday) and San Diego State (Saturday) crucial. Expect Fredette to be hounded on defense and play at least 35 minutes in each game.
The good news for BYU? The last time Fredette had a so-so two-game stretch (New Mexico and Wyoming), he torched UNLV and Air Force.
That happens, maybe Fredette will take on Chuck Norris.
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