I’m heading out to San Diego later today for Round 2 of the The Jimmer vs. San Diego State. I watched Jimmer Fredette put up 43 in Provo the first go-around and it got me thinking.
How on earth do you stop The Jimmer?
We’ve found someone who is as qualified as anyone and had the unenviable task – and was fairly successful - of trying to come up with a plan to, at the very least, contain BYU star guard Jimmer Fredette on multiple occasions over the past few years.
Former Wyoming coach Heath Schroyer gives us his in-depth scouting report on what to do to try and contain The Jimmer.
Fredette was just 7-of-21 earlier this season in a win at Wyoming, was 3-of-11 for 11 points in one of their meetings against the Cowboys last season and had 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting in a game against Wyoming as a sophomore.
Containing “THE JIMMER”
Trying to stop the "THE JIMMER", the nation’s leading scorer, takes a commitment by every member the team. He is extremely gifted with the ball, has range from the parking lot, plays with great confidence, and is used perfectly in Dave Rose's system. Jimmer is the best offensive player in the country and BYU is a great team. Trying to stop either one is a very difficult task.
There are six keys that must be done to try and contain "THE JIMMER", and thus contain BYU. I do not believe you can truly "stop" a great scorer like Jimmer Fredette, but these six keys give you a chance to control him.
1. MUST FIND-LOCATE HIM EARLY IN TRANSITION
You must send a guy to him on every miss or make. It is important to lock into him early, engage the ball, but not get beat in the open floor. You must also get him out of the middle third of the floor where he is the most dangerous. A player must be assigned to Jimmer on every possession, miss or make. Defense on Jimmer starts when the other team takes a shot!
2. YOU MUST BE THERE ON THE CATCH, AND DO NOT ALLOW HIM TO CREATE SPACE WITH THE DRIBBLE
You must make a point to "arrive at the same time as the ball.” A defender can't be late! The defender must be close enough to touch off the ball, but also see and anticipate any screen that might come. On the catch, you must take away his space. Do not allow him create any space with ball/foot fakes or the dribble. You must constantly think shot at all times. One of Jimmer's greatest strengths is his ability to make defenders play on their heels and drop their hands. You must stay on your toes, attack back dribbles with high hands, think shot on every catch, and be ready to contest the jumper past the NBA 3-point line.
3. NO CATCH AND SHOOT 3-POINT OPPORTUNITIES OFF SCREENS
You must "lock and trail" and chase off all screens. You can never "go ballside" of a screen, and give Jimmer the ability to flare or step behind the screen for a shot. The last screener's defender must extend/hedge the screen, and the man defending the passer must jump to the pass, be open to the ball, and take away any quick dribble toward the middle third of the floor. Jimmer is very good at putting the ball on the floor at the point of the screen toward the middle of the floor if he feels his defender trailing him. The passer's defender jumping toward the pass open to the ball allows early help, and closes floor space on the catch. This is very important because Jimmer’s defender is trailing him to take away any Catch and Shoot opportunities, and the next line of defense must be ready, and early.
4. ANTICIPATE AND ATTACK PENTRATION EARLY, AND HELP UP!
Most coaches will always say to their post players "never help up". However, I believe that in Jimmer's case you must. When he puts the ball on the floor, especially in the middle third of the floor, he is going to score, and leaves his feet early to do so. Your Bigs must attack his penetration above the block, go big with high hands, and be ready to take a charge. By doing this, I don’t believe you can deny the wings very hard because as the ball is driven, (remember, we are taking away his space, and making him drive) all defenders must be on a string, and move at the same time. As the Big goes early to attack penetration, the opposite wing must "fill" or drop to the inside of the Big's defender to take away the easy dump pass to the offensive Big. Jimmer is very crafty, and great around the rim. You must attack his penetration early, fill early, and make him drive to pass, not score.
5. DEFEND THE BALL SCREEN
Like many great scorers, Jimmer is very effective using the ball screen to his advantage. BYU sets a lot for him at different angles on the floor. You must mix up how you defend the ball screen out of timeouts depending on a team’s personnel. However, you can never go under the ball screen or let him "split" the screen or two defenders. Having more than one scheme to defender Jimmer off the ball screen is imperative! You must make the screener beat you. The defender guarding Jimmer must go over top the screen at all times, and the defender guarding the screener must not let Jimmer penetrate past him or by him. I believe a "hedge" with active hands that is level or parallel to the baseline is best. This allows the defender guarding Jimmer to go over the screen. It also makes it more difficult to "split" the ball screen and fly by both defenders. However, the man hedging on the screen cannot get to low. He must have active hands, and be ready to contest the jumper! He should never leave the ball early. He must stay until his teammate is back in front of Jimmer, and at an angle to defend him. It’s better to leave a dribble to late, than to early. No splits. Make the screener beat you, and trust your back line rotations.
6. GIVE HIM DIFFERENT LOOKS, AND ROTATE DEFENDERS
You must give Jimmer different looks and rotate different defenders on him. I don’t believe that one man can defend him effectively. You must defend him with a smaller, quick defender who can crawl into him (if possible), a long athletic defender who can contest his jumper at a higher point, and a physical defender who has a few fouls to give. You must rotate these defenders out of timeouts, free throws, and throughout the course of the game. Jimmer and Coach Rose are very intelligent, and if you only defend him one way with one guy, they will exploit it as the game goes on.
BYU is a very talented, well-coached basketball team. The Jimmer is a special player and an unbelievable scorer. After seeing him up close and personal, I can tell you, it’s a lot easier said than done!