Wednesday, March 16, 2011

From the Paper: Jimmer Extra

Couple Jimmer Fredette-themed articles in Thursday's paper (here's one and here's the other) to help get the men's NCAA basketball tournament started.

When interviewing Glens Falls coach Tony Hammel, I asked the coach if he had any idea when he coached Fredette is he would become the collegiate (and, soon-to-be NBA) player that he had.

Hammel said he never thought Fredette would do what he has this season -- "I really don't think you could predict that" -- but he did have an anecdote to share of when he knew Fredette was extra special and not just your run-of-the-mill high-scoring high school ballplayer.

Glens Falls' basketball team plays in a tournament every year in Allentown, Penn. where Hammel grew up. The tournament is played in the summer before the school year and is highly competitive.

"Usually when we go down there, it's a double elimination tournament and we'll win one or two games and then we're done," Hammel said.

But not the summer before Fredette's senior year. Playing against teams from all over Pennsylvania -- including much bigger schools than Glens Falls -- Fredette scored 35 points per game and led Glens Falls to an 8-0 record in the tournament. Fredette was named the tournament's MVP.

"I knew how good he was when he was able to carry us through that tournament and not lose a game," Hammel said.

Glens Falls athletic director Chip Corlew -- who coached Fredette in modified basketball when he was in seventh grade -- said he too was surprised Fredette reached the heights of college basketball that he has, namely, being in the running for National Player of the Year.

"I knew he'd be a very good college player, but I didn't think he would do this," Corlew said.

Corlew didn't expect it, but he's not totally shocked it has happened, either.

"He works out in our gym every summer," Corlew said. "If you could watch him work out, you would know why he is the leading scorer in the country.

"He's earned everything he has gotten."

--Michael Kelly

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