Keeping Score

BYU’s Jimmer Fredette: Basketball’s First Twitter Legend

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The two-week gap between the NFL championship games and Super Bowl leave some pretty slow days for sports fans. But for those of us lucky to catch last night’s college basketball game between Brigham Young University and San Diego State, Jimmer more than made up for it.

Brigham Young? Jimmer? What the hell are you talking about?  Fair questions. On a network called CBS College Sports, buried in the triple-digit no-man’s land of cable channels, ninth-ranked BYU, led by the top scorer in the country, Jimmer Fredette, hosted the fourth-ranked team, San Diego State, who was undefeated entering the game. It’s rare enough for one team from the Mountain West Conference, which is not a member of the Big 6 club of “elite” college sports conferences, to be ranked in the top 20. Two Mountain West teams in the top 10? Never happened before.

(More on NewsFeed: See the top 10 sports moments of 2010)

This is the time of year where many sports fans start getting plugged into college hoops. I, like many, had heard of this Fredette cat, whose name makes him a natural standout. It’s really Jimmer? Not Jim? Jimmy? Jimbo?  I had read that his older brother was a rapper. I figured he was worth checking out, but I wasn’t about to stay up too late for the a game that would start at 10:00 Eastern, from Provo, Utah.

Well, I’ve been tired all day. It’s one thing to drop 43 points on one of the best teams in the country, like Fredette did last night. But it’s quite another to do so in the manner Jimmer demoralized the Aztecs. He pulled up from the parking lot, with guys in his face. Two San Diego State guys would chase him, and it didn’t matter. He’d take a few dribbles, with someone on him, and fade away . . .that shot doesn’t have a chance. Swish. At one point, his feet got all twisted as a elevated for a jump shot. Every shooting coach in the country blanched. As Jimmer hit another one, every hoophead wanted to hug a stranger.

None other than Kevin Durant, one of the two or three best players in the NBA, and the last college player to stir such incredulousness, chimed in on Twitter: “Jimmer Fredette is the best scorer in the world!!” High praise from a guy who, hours before, just torched the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 47-point effort. Fredette is only 6’2″, and not overly quick. He has to struggle for most of his shots. But they go in anyway. He’s the great hope for every average pickup player out there.

And call Fredette college basketball’s first Twitter legend. During the game, a convocation on basketball fans gathered on the site to discover an amazing performer, and sing his praises. It was a collective basketball exultation. Yes, it’s Jimmer. Know the name. As we march towards March Madness, you’ll be hearing a lot more of it.

(More on TIME.com: See the best pictures of 2010)

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