NEW YORK -- Jimmer Mania has arrived in the Big Apple.
Jimmer Fredette, the former BYU guard and current NBA draft candidate, was swarmed by reporters on Wednesday afternoon at a hotel in midtown Manhattan. Twelve players projected to be selected in the first round in Thursday night's draft were made available to the media -- including former Duke guard Kyrie Irving, who is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick. But no one got more attention than Fredette.
"This is what comes with the territory if you're gonna be an NBA basketball player and have a big name out there," Fredette said. "I'm excited that everyone's here and everyone wants to know what's going on."
Fredette had the college basketball world buzzing throughout the winter and spring, electrifying fans by leading the nation with a scoring average of 28.9 points per game. He was the consensus national player of the year, which partly explains all the hoopla surrounding him. But he has also made waves in recent days, particularly in this city, for stating that he would love to play for the New York Knicks.
"It would be incredible. It would be a lot of fun, to play with those guys and in Coach (Mike) D'Antoni's system," Fredette, who is a native of Glens Falls in upstate New York, said on Wednesday. "We'll see what happens."
The Knicks, who own the No. 17 pick in the first round, are one of five teams Fredette chose to work out for leading up to the draft. The other four were the Utah Jazz (No. 3 and No. 12), the Sacramento Kings (No. 7), the Phoenix Suns (No. 13) and the Indiana Pacers (No. 15).
"I think I really impressed all of the teams that I went to," Fredette said. "I think I fit in really well with all of them and their personnel."
Diverse opinions abound about how successful an NBA player Fredette will be. On the one hand, he has shown the ability to be a prolific scorer, at least at the college level. And his outside shooting range is unquestionable -- he was a threat to pull up and make a 3-pointer from just about anywhere inside half-court this past season, another reason for the mystique surrounding him.
On the other hand, he is not particularly big (6-foot-3, 196 pounds) or quick, and there are questions about his defensive abilities.
Fredette thinks he proved some people wrong in his pre-draft workouts. "(I tried to) just show them in these workouts that I'm willing to compete, and play as hard as I possibly can on (the defensive) end of the floor," Fredette said. "All of them said, 'You're a lot more athletic than I thought you were.'"
Fredette said he sees himself as a point guard at the NBA level. When asked what current NBA players he would compare himself to, Fredette said, "(I see) similar attributes in Deron Williams -- he's about my size, uses the crossover really well, and crossover step-back. I watched him a lot, being in Utah, so I tried to emulate his game. And somewhat a Steve Nash -- he can get his shot off quickly, especially in the lane shooting up those different types of shots that I have in my arsenal.
"I'm not at their level yet, but some of their stuff is in my game."
Since his college season ended, Fredette has been in Provo, Utah, working out with his uncle and trainer, Lee Taft. But he was able to spend a couple days back home in Glens Falls before traveling to New York City for the draft.
Several family members and friends will be with him on Thursday night, but he will have many more fans cheering him on from his hometown. In fact, there will be an NBA draft viewing party at the Glens Falls Civic Center, and Fredette said they're hoping to sell out the arena.
And, Fredette said, he knows which team the crowd will be rooting for to select him.
"I know (the Knicks) would make a lot of New York fans upstate happy. They want to come watch me play here at the Garden a lot," Fredette said. "But I think they'll be happy and supportive wherever I go."
Kieran Darcy is a reporter and columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.