March 02, 2011
Jimmer Fredette is well on his way to being one of the most accomplished basketball players in BYU history – a potential league champion, conference player of the year, All-American and the frontrunner for national player of the year.
His name has even been turned into a verb, like, "San Diego State has been Jimmered twice this year."
He makes BYU girls swoon and media drool with tales of dribbling basketballs down dark church hallways and sinking jump shots from just a few steps inside the mid-court stripe.
To borrow a phrase from Tim Tebow lore: Superman wears Jimmer Fredette pajamas.
But the one thing Fredette can't do, and really can't get over, is make a basket with a football from the right side of the hoop (if you're looking at it) from about 10 rows up in the Marriott Center.
Of course your immediate response is, "So what? Why is that a big deal?"
It's a big deal because BYU freshman starting quarterback Jake Heaps, the little to Fredette's Big Man on Campus, can do it and that's just not acceptable to Fredette.
While shooting a basketball promotion for BYUtv back in January, Heaps was asked to try and throw a football into the basketball hoop from the stands. With Fredette looking on, Heaps swished the football, on camera, for the world to see. It even made the local news and aired after the highlights of BYU's romp over Utah. The newscaster declared it, "The shot of the night."
"I played some basketball in high school and I like to think I have a pretty good jumper," Heaps said. "After my third try, I was like 10 rows up at the Marriott Center in the stands and I swished it. It's pretty funny stuff."
Funny to everyone but Fredette, who went up into the stands and started tossing footballs at the hoop until the coaches told him they'd seen enough. But Fredette, who was a standout wide receiver in high school, wouldn't let it rest.
"I know I caught him trying to do it one day in the Marriott Center, trying to outdo me, but he couldn't make it," Heaps said. "I see Jimmer from time to time and he gives me grief about how he's going to get me back and stuff."
While the season has taken precedent over Fredette's vengeance, he hasn't forgotten Heaps or the one time he's been shown up all season. Even though the senior is destined for millions as an NBA first-round pick, he doesn't want to leave the BYU campus with any unfinished business. And though Fredette doesn't have a picture of Heaps with a big red "X" across his face taped up in his locker (at least not that we know of), he does have plans for some good-natured revenge.
"I didn't get a chance to make it in, but I think we're going to have something for him pretty soon," Fredette said. "We're going to get in with the marketing guys and I'm going to retaliate. We're pretty focused right now, but as soon as the season's over, I'm going to get him back. A little horse game, maybe.
"I don't know if I want to show him I can throw a football better than he can or if I want to put my own basketball spin on it and retaliate there. We'll find something and it will be creative. We'll get him back good."
And hopefully it will be filmed as evidence.
When Heaps was asked whether he'd accept Fredette's challenge of a game of horse -- remember, Fredette is a guy who pulls up from basically anywhere during games because he’s just that confident -- Heaps was enthusiastic about besting BYU's biggest superstar once again.
"I'm totally game," Heaps said. "I think my chances are pretty high, but it will be a good match. I might have a few tricks up my sleeve, but I'm going to keep those secret."
The Dagger editor Jeff Eisenberg contributed to this post.
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