Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jimmer and his Legacy?

Well, it's over. The Jimmer Coaster fell off the tracks near the peak, killing all that were riding.

Now comes the question: how good was Jimmer? What kind of legacy has he cemented at BYU?

I'm here to argue that Jimmer left about as much legacy as Deron Williams left the Jazz.

Let's consider the facts. Jimmer Fredette played his whole college career here at BYU, passing Danny Ainge to become BYU's all time leading scorer. He led us into the tournament two straight years, willing us to victory in the first year against Florida (well, thanks in large part to Michael Lloyd Jr.), then taking BYU to the Sweet 16, the closest BYU has been to reaching the final four since Ainge's miracle shot against Notre Dame. He will most likely be named the National Player of the Year, and he is looking at a good chance at being drafted in the lottery by the Jazz (although more of that may be due to ticket sales than how good he actually is).

So... what does that leave the fans?

Anyone who considers me a fair-weather fan of BYU (or the Jazz) obviously doesn't know me. I've bled with them my whole life. I watch every game, I follow every stat. I watch BYU compete, recruiting shortcomings and obstacles nonetheless, becoming one of the top college programs in the league. Just like I've watched the Jazz, year after year, exit the playoffs.

Is that good enough for us? Have we been so used to coming in second that we think a Sweet 16 run was magical? After watching Jimmer play one of the worst games of his career against Florida in a game we should have dominated, I can't say I'm happy. I can't say BYU had the best season I could ever possibly hope for. Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I expected too much out of Jimmer. But was there a ceiling on his ability to play, considering his unlimited range and ability to get to the free throw range? Destiny, too, seemed on his side, for his porous lack of defense was compensated for by his running mate, Jackson Emery.

I've never been a fan of one player. I root for BYU. I root for the Jazz. Sure, I love(d) D-Will and Jimmer, but watching Jimmer hoisting the National Player of the Year trophy at the end of the year while watching Florida make the Final Four will leave no joy in my heart, no triumph in the fact that I cheered for him.

It seems like we Jazz/Cougars fans have become accustomed to second place. Right behind the Lakers, so close to the Elite 8, etc etc.

As for me, I will continue to believe that one day, BYU or the Jazz can break through. And until then, I'll never be satisfied, regardless of how many Players of the Year we have.

PS: I'm not sure how many players of the year have won the award with such a decisive lack of clutch shots.

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