by Diana Allen

The 2011 NBA Draft is said to be one of the weakest drafts in NBA history. There are two players predicted to make an immediate impact for their teams, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, but neither is likely to be the next Derrick Rose or Kevin Durant.

In a draft where there is no clear superstar, who will excite current fans and bring something new to the NBA? Who will keep fans interested over a perhaps longer than usual off-season due to the potential lockout? Many college players are one and done and relatively few have the ability to cross fans over from college to the pros.

There is one player, however, who transcended the sport of college basketball this year. The soft-spoken, All-American of Brigham Young University, Jimmer Fredette. Jimmer took college basketball by storm in 2011. BYU fans enjoyed Jimmer for three previous seasons but Fredette’s senior year is when he made his mark on the national scene.

On January 26, 2011 at home against the then #4 ranked SDSU Aztecs, Jimmer-mania was born. Jimmer exploded against the Aztec’s strong, long, athletic players for 43 points. The game was aired on CBS College Sports, allowing many fans to see Jimmer for the first time. During and following the game, fellow athletes showed their excitement on twitter.

Kevin Durant the NBA’s leading scorer for the past two seasons tweeted:
Jimmer Fredette is the best scorer in the world!!

The soon to be NBA Rookie of the Year, John Wall tweeted:
Jimmer Fredette is cold! #respect

Jared Sullinger from UNC tweeted:
Yooo Jimmer is going off right now. Pure Scorer.

Derrick Williams of the Arizona Wildcats who has played twice against Jimmer tweeted:
The only way you're stopping Jimmer is when the game ends.

Jimmer had the attention of the nation and that night Jimmer was all over Sports Center and would continue to be throughout the rest of the season. With the NBA losing marketability due to a weak draft and a looming lockout, fans’ interest in a sport where millionaire players are arguing with billionaire owners waned. The NBA needs something new and exciting. The media found it in Jimmer. America loved and could relate to him. He is a marketer’s dream. The more ESPN and the national media showcased Jimmer the more people wanted him.

Not many athletes have the ability to captivate an entire nation. The athletes that do are rare and unique. Jimmer captured the imagination and the hearts of the country with his competitive nature, offensive dominance and winning personality.

Athletes with endearing personalities attract the hearts of the fans of the teams for whom they play. These athletes show loyalty to the community, to their fans and to their team. Jimmer is this kind of athlete. Jimmer makes time for his fans and for the community. Despite his many accolades he is never too busy for his fans nor does he act condescendingly to the media. Jimmer is a down to earth, approachable player.

Fans appreciate Jimmer’s hardworking personality. In a world where many athletes turn away fans with their sense of entitlement, Jimmer has worked hard and continues to improve his game and value in the draft. An example of such is Jimmer’s desire to improve his defense, which has been questioned throughout this college career.

The combination of a winning personality and hard work is not all that attracted fans to Jimmer in college and is not the only thing that will entice fans to watch him in the NBA.

The consensus National Player of the Year, Jimmer Fredette excited fans with his high energy, run and gun offense. Known for his three-point range, Jimmer dazzled fans with his long-range bombs. A half-court shot to cap off a 32-point first half against the University of Utah caused even BYU’s biggest rivals, Ute Fans, to give Jimmer a standing ovation.

Certain players have that ability to take over a game. These players will not allow their team to lose. Fans are drawn to these players due to the competitive nature and the excitement that they create. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were such players. Fans never knew whether Jordan or Kobe would be scoring from the outside, getting into the paint, or landing a ridiculous circus shot. It is an “It” factor that few players possess. While Jimmer may not have the talent of Jordan or Kobe, Jimmer has that “It” factor.

Jimmer knew how and when to turn it on in college. Whether Jimmer was draining three threes in a row to end the half, getting to the line or making a play for a teammate, he had that knack of knowing what to do and when to do it to get the win.

While the NBA is facing a weak draft, a lockout, and growing egos, there is little to excite fans. Fans want to relate to and support a league with hardworking caring players. Jimmer can be a bright spot in the NBA. Regardless of where he is drafted, Jimmer is ready to give fans what they really want to see – personality, determination, and amazing threes.