It has been 10 years since Jimmer Fredette’s exciting senior year at BYU. It was one of the most memorable seasons of any BYU sport in school history.
Vanquish the Foe contributors reflect on Jimmermania 10 years later.
I had the privilege of witnessing Jimmermania in person several times. I was at BYU-Idaho at the time, but it was just a three-and-a-half-hour drive down the freeway for me to attend games and I did often. For a while, it felt like I actually went to BYU in Provo because I was at the Marriott Center so often. It really came to a head for me when I scored tickets to what is still the biggest matchup ever at the Marriott Center, when undefeated, No. 4 San Diego State rolled into town with Kawhi Leonard to play No. 9 BYU (19-1) on January 26, 2011. There was no way I was missing that game. Being from San Diego, I grew up with a unique perspective on this rivalry with the Aztecs. This matchup took it to a whole new level and the entire nation was watching.
I drove down with our very own Robby McCombs on that cold, late-January evening. Provo was absolutely abuzz for the most anticipated game in the Marriott Center’s history. The game didn’t disappoint. I’ve seen sold out football games at LaVell Edwards Stadium, The Swamp in Florida, Neyland at Tennessee, a few NFL games, a few games at San Diego State growing up near there, never in my life have I been in a sports arena that had the palpable electricity of that game in Provo. Storming the court and happily driving home after one of the biggest wins in program history was so satisfying as Jimmer dropped 43 points on the Aztecs. I got to send a few rib-jabbing texts to some local San Diego friends.
From that game all the way to the end of the tournament, I lived and breathed BYU basketball like never before. I would wake up in my dorm room and just turn on ESPN, knowing at some point the talking heads would rave about our own Jimmer Fredette. He was the hottest commodity in college sports for at least a three-month span. Kevin Durant tweeted that Jimmer was the greatest scorer in the world. Everyone’s eyes were glued to BYU basketball, from Provo to New York to L.A. Every night, people watched the box score to see just how many points Jimmer would pile up. In Provo, Jimmer was Michael Jordan. Tiger Woods. Kobe Bryant. You name it. He was the biggest celebrity in town.
Raps were made about him. ESPN specials. He made the cover of Sports Illustrated. Just pure mayhem.
I was lucky enough to attend the Utah game as well as his last home game, against Wyoming. He never failed to deliver, taking and sinking shots from what seemed like Tooele County.
BYU football came close to this hysteria in 2020 with Zach Wilson’s astronomic rise but it didn’t reach the pure ridiculous levels it did in 2011 for the team on the hardwood. Jimmer ended up winning the college basketball version of The Heisman, taking home the Naismith Award, which has since been awarded to guys like Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson. Being a BYU fan was so cool. Everyone who saw me wearing BYU gear out in public couldn’t wait to talk to me about Jimmer, whether it was a fellow student, friend from high school, or just a random guy at the grocery store in Idaho Falls.
When Jimmer nailed that three-pointer from beyond NBA range to tie the game against Florida in the Sweet 16, it sent our whole dormitory hall into a frenzy. Strangers and friends alike were embracing and storming the hall, anxiously watching overtime. Unfortunately, the dream season ended prematurely but no one will ever forget the winter of 2011 in Provo and beyond.
The nation couldn’t get enough of Jimmer and BYU and something like that may never happen again.
This article is making me feel real old. I was a freshman at BYU during Jimmer’s senior year and it really did make it somehow even more special for me. My two favorite Jimmer memories are pretty standard, but that doesn’t make them any less awesome. First, I’ll always remember Jan. 26, 2011. Kawhi Leonard and undefeated SDSU at the Marriott Center. The only game I ever camped out overnight for. It was snowing. Took turns with people in the ward waiting in line and going to classes. Still didn’t even get that great of seats. But it was sooooo worth it to be in the building to watch Jimmer put up 43 points as no. 9 BYU took down no. 4 SDSU in such a highly anticipated game. One of the atmospheres at the MC that I’ll never forget.
My second favorite memory is when we played New Mexico in the MWC tourney semifinals and Jimmer scored 52 points. It was almost an out of body experience watching Jimmer in that game at the Thomas & Mack Center. I remember being on such a high both before and after that game. One of those things that you could feel the amazing-ness of while it was happening. Those were the days.
I remember starting my degree at BYU in 2007 and watching the then-Freshman Jimmer display flashes of brilliance as he became a solid contributor. I missed the next few years serving an LDS mission but came back on campus Jan 2011, right in time for Jimmermania to peak and then consume the country for a few months. Some of the lasting memories I have of Jimmermania, though, was when we hit the post season. Despite the rough end to the regular season everyone was excited to see Jimmer continue to do his thing in the post season. I remember hearing that someone was going to be showing our Quarterfinal against TCU in the Varsity Theater that Thursday so headed on over. The game was ugly and Jimmer didn’t have a particularly good game, only putting up 24 on 33% shooting, but I remember it being a blast to be there watching on the big screen at 1pm on a Thursday afternoon with a bunch of random people.
The home games during the season were incredible but it was also really cool to be on campus on gameday for those weekday games in the post season. I had an evening class on Thursdays but was able to tune into the games with a combination of an old radio (only thing I had at the time to get FM, lol) and then the TV in the common area of the Wilk when I ran over for dinner break. Anywhere there was a TV there was a crowd of people gathered with people often stopping to catch as much of the games as they could on their way to wherever they were going.
When what would be our final game came around against Florida I was sitting in class listening to the close second half before power-walking my way over to the Wilk from the HFAC in time to catch what would be Jimmer’s last three of his collegiate career to tie the game with about four minutes to go. The place wasn’t packed but the big cheer that erupted was so fun to be a part of. Eventually I had to head back to class and listen to the season end on that old radio before walking home, head still kinda buzzing despite the loss. It was a such a fun season to be a part of and great to be on campus at a time when a bug chuck of campus was locked into BYU basketball.
P.S. - I also remember this Facebook thread giving me some solid laughs.
Jimmer’s senior season was the most memorable BYU sports season of my young 29 years in life. I was a freshman at BYU-Idaho months before my mission (sorry to all you folks that were on your mission for this season). I didn’t have access to The Mtn or versus so I had to use some, ahem, questionable streaming services to watch each game. Honestly, I think that made Jimmer’s legend grow even more. Most of the nation was unable to watch him play until really January/February, so most people just had highlights of him on SportsCenter dropping 30+ points and making shots no one else in the world — including NBA players — was taking at that time.
One of the great memories was watching the game where Jimmer scored 47 points at The Huntsman Center versus Utah. That first half was the greatest half I’ve ever seen for any BYU basketball player. Jimmer scored 32 points and ended it on a halfcourt heave — I was watching alone in my dorm room and jumping up and down by myself.
The second great memory was driving down to Provo witness the BYU-SDSU game in person. I made the right call of skipping class and watched arguably the greatest game in Marriott Center history. It was SO LOUD and the whole crowd was on their foot for long stretches of the game.
Overall, it was just a fun year. National pundits were talking about BYU non-stop and Jimmer was a rock star. Zach Wilson became a big deal for BYU this year, but he didn’t touch the icon Jimmer became for 4 months during that season. Frankly, I don’t think any BYU player will ever top the star power Jimmer experienced for those few amazing months.
Now, right on cue, Jimmer made headlines again this week on the hardwood. He dropped a whopping 70 points for the Shanghai Sharks on Monday. This marks the third time he has reached the 70-point plateau in China.