Jimmer Fredette, the unanimous 2011 National Player of the Year in college basketball, has another trophy to add to the shelf — International MVP of the Chinese Basketball Association.
The former BYU superstar won the award on Monday, more than doubling the number of votes for his nearest rival, Iranian Hamed Haddadi. In this comeback season of sorts, Fredette put up an astonishing 37.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.7 steals a game while shooting 47.7% from the floor and 40.4% from 3-point range. Last month, he dropped 73 points in a single game.
His individual excellence also translated into team success as Fredette led the Shanghai Sharks to the playoffs with a 30-8 record, turning around a franchise that was mired in years of mediocrity. In the first round, they are matched up with the Shenzhen Leopards (26-12) and currently lead 2-1 in the series with Fredette leading them to victory in a close Game 3, scoring 33 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
After the CBA playoffs are over, Fredette has expressed interest in returning to the NBA, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Of course, it’s not clear if any NBA team has any interest in making that happen. After being drafted 10th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, Fredette disappoined in the NBA, playing for 4 different teams over 5 year, averaging just 6 points in 13 minutes per game as his legendary shooting was compromised by his lack of athleticism in the pros.
Rather than returning to the NBA, Fredette could always take the Stephon Marbury route and become a superstar in China. In the Middle Kingdom, Jimmer has managed to recapture that BYU magic, earning him legions of Chinese fans who call him “Jimo” (寂寞) meaning “lonely.”
Which is less depressing than it sounds, as his translator told him, his full title is “loneliness god,” (寂寞大神) because he stands at such a high level, he has no rivals.
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