You're gonna hear a lot of guys talk about a lot of things during March Madness: Cinderella teams, upsets, seeds, match-ups. Some stuff will get old real quick and you should just go back to playing Scrabble on your iPhone. What won't get old? Hearing about Jimmer Fredette.
I've ordered my t-shirt. I've picked BYU to go far in my bracket. Yup, I'm on Team Jimmer. Not just because he's the top scorer in college basketball (some say in all of basketball). Not just because he makes jaw-dropping shots from great distances (think sinking a shot from half-court like it was easy-peasey). Not just because his name has become a verb (as in "Dude, you were so Jimmered by that guy!" -- meaning a guy who doesn't look like he can do much totally whipped your tushee).
And not just because he's got some unique fans: the inmates at the Mount McGregor Correctional Facility.
So, as the story goes, Jimmer got to be such a good player partly due to the fact he always played with his brother TJ, who is seven years older. Playing against dudes twice his size, Jimmer had to learn how to create shots and make it work.
Older bro TJ was part of a group of guys who'd go play games at Mount McGregor Correctional Facility in Wilton, New York, near where the Fredette family lives. One day, TJ had his little brother come along, and the rest is history. Whenever Jimmer played there, he won. As much as the inmates wanted their team to beat the civilians, they soon began cheering as this kid made ridiculous shot after ridiculous shot. Did playing with the R-rated taunts and jeers from the inmates watching help his mental game? He thinks so:
Obviously there are a lot more people in big arenas in college, but what they say to you doesn't bother you because I heard pretty much everything in those prisons ... I think that helped me get better at blocking the crowd out and just focusing on the game.
Since his move to BYU, guys in the prison have followed his career. They tune into his games, read the papers about his latest 40-point game, and are some of his biggest fans.
Who isn't a big fan? Jimmermania has reached epic proportions. He's made stops on all of the ESPN shows, been interviewed by almost every big sports reporter, and I love the media for hopping on the Jimmer bandwagon. The story of Jimmer Fredette is one of the best stories I've read about in a long time. Here's a good small-town kid with amazing skills -- who even used to play basketball with inmates -- and he makes it to the Big Dance. This has all of the makings of a classic sports movie, huh? I'm sure Hollywood is already thinking of who will play him (I think Adam Brody aka Seth Cohen from The O.C. would be perfect).
What do you think of Jimmer Fredette?
Image via Getty