“It feels great to be back in my hometown. It’s where I grew up, where everything happened for me. It all started here.”

Sacramento Kings guard Jimmer Fredette spoke these words on the third and final day of his own Jimmer Jam Camp, which was held just north of the Capital Region at the Saratoga Rec. Center from June 21-June 23.  In two four-hour sessions each day, Jimmer put the youngsters through a regimen of ball handling, shooting, and agility drills that the NBA star himself goes through daily with his trainer, Lee Taft, who was also on hand to help with the camp.

A Glens Falls native, Fredette concluded his high school playing career as Section II’s all-time scoring leader, netting a total of 2,404 total points before faltering in the 2007 New York State Class “A” Championship game.  A “sleeper” in high school who managed to go unnoticed by major Division I institutions, Jimmer signed on to play at Brigham Young University, vowing that one day he would play in the NBA.

After a modest freshman season for BYU, Jimmer put up impressive numbers in both his sophomore and junior years, averaging 16.2 and 22.1 points per game respectively. It was his senior season, however, that turned him into a star.  He led the nation in scoring average, with 28.9 points a clip, and took BYU from a mid-major squad to a number three seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and ultimately a finish in the “Sweet 16”.  For his scoring prowess, his name became a verb as after he dropped a fair amount of points on an opponent, it was said that they had just gotten “Jimmered”. He was selected tenth overall in the 2011 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks and subsequently traded to the Kings, where he averaged 7.6 points per contest on 39% shooting from the floor as well as a 36% success rate from beyond the arc.

Said Jimmer, “I remember being in camps when I was younger. I used to love coming to these things and just competing. I hope these kids take some skills they can build on through the summer.”  It was evident through his demonstrating every drill and his interaction with the campers as they were performing the drill that he wanted each and every child there to feel the way he did about basketball camp.  A highlight for the kids was when Jimmer taught them a play that the Sacramento Kings actually run in end-of-game situations when they need a quick shot.

The camp motto, which is on the back of the tee shirt pictured above that each camper receives, is “Character-Respect-Kindness-Courage.”  “We’re trying to teach them basketball skills, athletic skills, and also character,” Jimmer states. “We like to call that the Triple Threat. It’s kind of a basketball term, and we use that.”  Anyone who knows Jimmer will tell you the great character that he has.  On Friday, his father told a story to campers of a time when he was at an AAU tournament with Jimmer, and after one particular game, he was nowhere to be found.  They ended up finding him in the janitor’s closet, helping the custodian fill water coolers to bring out on the court for the other players in the tournament.

Jimmer Jam was about developing basketball skills, but it was about much more.  Abraham Lincoln once said “Every man can stand adversity, but if you want to see his character give him power.”  With all of his accolades and the “power” that comes with being an NBA player, this is what Jimmer is doing with it; giving back.  That is Jammer’s character.


Mike Long Jr. – Staff Writer



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