Jimmer Fredette BYU GUARDThe Mountain West Conference's alltime leading scorer had 25 points and nine assists to help beat then No. 6 San Diego State on Saturday.
Dan Patrick:Last time you autographed a body part?
Jimmer Fredette: Last night I signed a kid's head.
DP:Do you hold his head like a basketball and sign it?
JF: Pretty much. I signed right on his forehead. Then I signed a kid's arm. I always try to ask their parents before, so I don't get in trouble.
DP:When you were testing the waters for last year's draft, what did you hear that made you want to go back for your senior year?
JF: I was looking for a guarantee by a team that they would draft me if I was there. The teams that I worked out for mostly had late-first-round, early-second-round picks. That's where I was projected to go. But it was so early in the process; I was everybody's first workout. They all thought I could play at that level and that I was a good player. But they didn't know exactly where I was going to be picked.
DP:If you were guaranteed a top 15 pick last year, would you have gone out?
JF: I think so. That's my goal, to play in the NBA. You never know what's going to happen. So if you have the opportunity, the smart choice is not to chance it. If it had been guaranteed, I probably would have left.
DP:How much do you feel like you have to prove yourself?
JF: I feel like I have to prove myself every night. I think you gotta play with that type of an edge; that's what makes me and our team so successful. We don't get as much credit as we should. We're starting to get a lot more credit nationally—myself and my team. But there are still a lot of doubters out there, a lot of people who think you can't do it. You have to use that as motivation.
DP:What is the biggest knock you hear on your game?
JF: Not athletic enough. Not able to play against the best athletes and get my shot off or play defense against them. I just take that as a challenge. I've heard that my whole life. Up to this point I've been able to stop the critics from saying that. At the next level they still have questions on whether I can do it or not. It remains to be seen, but I have confidence I can play in the NBA and play well.
DP:If I said shoot 20 NBA threes, how many would you make?
JF: Without any defense, I could make probably about 15.
DP:I would have thought you would have gone a little bit higher than that.
JF: Depends how I'm feeling. But on an average day, I'd say 15.
DP:Can BYU advance in the tournament if you have an off night?
JF: I think we can. I've had off nights before against some good teams, and [my teammates have] been able to pick up the team and make plays. A lot of times if teams are really, really focusing on me and trying to put two or 2½ guys on me, I have confidence my teammates have the ability to make shots. They've been doing it all year. Like our coach always says, it's not a one-man team. We have some really good players, even though I've been getting a lot of national notoriety. Even if I'm not shooting a lot, the main focus, especially in the NCAA tournament, is just to get a win. I'm going to try to do whatever I can.
• See Ya Later
Long farewell tours for retiring players don't help anyone. The player soaks up adulation at the expense of the team. John Smoltz has taken the opposite approach. "I just decided not to show up to work. That's how I ended my career," Smoltz said. Simple, to the point, somewhat mysterious. That's the way to go out. The Hall of Fame says he's eligible in 2015, regardless of whether he's made it official or not.
• Tigers Talk
Charles Barkley has always felt an affinity for fellow Auburn alum Cam Newton. He met with Newton at the NBA All-Star break and is convinced the NFL prospect is getting a bad rap for saying he wants to be "an entertainer and icon" in addition to a football player. "I told him don't take any of this stuff personally," Barkley said. "That's how it is now. It's just this generation of media. You can't overanalyze everything that these kids do and say now." Barkley also thinks none of Newton's statements will have any effect on what kind of player he's going to be.
• Line of the week
Nuggets coach George Karl, on his former player Carmelo Anthony: "Sometimes it seems the rebound switch is on, and sometimes it's off. Sometimes the passing switch is on, and sometimes it's off."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Greg McElroy explains how he aced this year's Wonderlic test.
2. Grant Hill talks about his unexpected scoring outburst.
THE FINE PRINT: The Kings may move from Sacramento to Anaheim. Disneyland is preparing by building a new ride, Cap Space Mountain.
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
DAVID E. KLUTHO (SMOLTZ)
JOHN BIEVER (KARL)
GARRETT W. ELLWOOD (FREDETTE)