Of all of the college basketball players in 2010, Jimmer Fredette has emerged as the most talked about.
The Brigham Young guard has been on an absolute tear this season. He's averaging 28.8 points per game, and has had eye-popping performances.
Fredette has had four games where he's scored 42 points or more this season. He's shooting 45.5 percent from the field, which is excellent for a player who spends a great deal of time taking outside shots.
Though Fredette put up strong numbers last season, he's made a noticeable improvement this season. He's raised his scoring average from 21.6 points per games, and his playing more minutes.
There are many reasons Fredette has been so successful. He's capable of creating his own shot, he's a colorful-pass threat, and he has a great knack to find spots on the court to set up his outside shot. In the open court, Fredette is not afraid to take it to the hoop, and can also penetrate in a half-court set.
This scouting report is not lost on NBA executives. Fredette is considered a lock for the first round, and has a very good chance of being a lottery pick.
But with Fredette's performances this season, you'd think that he would be a consensus first pick.
NBA draft experts waiver where he will be selected. The Web site NBADraft.net projects Fredette will be picked tenth in the upcoming draft, and that's an improvement from where he was a few months ago.
There are clear reasons for Fredette not being rated higher by NBA scouts.
First, there is the problem of what position he would play. For his size, Fredette will be forced to handle more point-guard duties than he does now. His job will be to create, more so than to score. At 6'2, he would struggle to play the shooting guard position, because shooting outside shots on college basketball players is much easier than shooting over Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Manu Ginobli, Brandon Roy, and Joe Johnson.
Second, his point guard skills are certainly there, but his athleticism to play the position might not be where it needs to be. Fredette can push the ball up the court, but today's NBA players are so fast that he would have trouble creating his own shot against someone like Russell Westbrook.
Third, Fredette does a fine job staying in front of college basketball players, but in order for him to see significant playing time, he needs to substantially improve his defense. There are NBA players like Derrick Rose, Steve Nash, and Chris Paul who combine superior crossover skills with the ability to use their athleticism to find passing lanes. Fredette isn't at the point where he's capable of defending those types of players.
Fourth, even though he has done well against tough competition, it's still hard for many scouts to disregard the fact that he's played mainly against rather weak competition over the course of the season. That's certainly not Fredette's fault, and scouts know that, but it does weaken his stock when compared to players who face tougher competition.
The good news for Fredette is that he is probably well aware of all of this.
Between the end of the season and the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season, Fredette will tailor his game around the style of the NBA, just like all college basketball players. He has shown a great deal of improvement over the past four years, and will continue to improve on the intangibles of his game.
There is certainly a place for Fredette in the NBA, but don't expect him to dominate anywhere near the way he has at BYU.
Expect Fredette to fall short of superstar status in the pros, but still be an excellent spot-up shooter, and a solid contributor for several years.