Provo » After hearing several NBA coaches and general managers tell him that he was "NBA-ready right now" and would probably be among the second 20 players taken in June's draft, Jimmer Fredette seriously considered not returning to BYU for his senior season, the star guard said Monday.
Two days after he announced he was pulling his name out of the draft and returning to a team which won 30 games last year, Fredette spoke publicly about the decision for the first time at the Marriott Center.
"I was close [to deciding] either way," he said. "I felt like it was a win-win situation either way. I felt like if I was to [stay] in the draft, I probably would get drafted somewhere. That was feedback I was getting, that I would be able to get in the draft and hopefully make a team, be on a team, get a contract and everything. But like I said, it was so uncertain. ... I thought about it a lot, and I was pretty close to going in [the draft] but I felt like it was the best decision to stay."
BYU coach Dave Rose is on vacation, and did not attend Monday's media gathering.
Fredette said the coach and Fredette's family members would have been supportive of either decision.
"They just wanted me to be happy and follow my heart and do whatever I wanted to do that would make me the most happy," he said.
Describing how the Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks picked up the tab for the visits -- even paying for him to order anything he wanted to eat from room service -- Fredette said most of the feedback he received was positive.
Mostly, he said, teams were surprised that he was more athletic, more agile, than they expected.
"I was better than they thought, I think, and that is kind of why I had to think about it, whether I was staying or not," he said. "I was getting some great feedback from different things. ... Some people would say I could go anywhere from [the] No. 20 pick to 40th, around that range. That was the feedback I was getting from the GMs and everything, from all the four teams."
Fredette said he also had an invitation to attend a workout Friday for the Portland Trail Blazers, but chose to stay in the East and play in front of the Knicks.
It was there that he pulled a quad muscle and had to cut the workout short. But he said Monday the injury is not serious.
"It feels fine now. I think it was just a little tweak ... it is not going to be an issue or anything," he said.
Fredette will stay, but it was close
Monday » Worked out for the Oklahoma City Thunder with Marquez Haynes of Texas-Arlington
Wednesday » Worked out for the Boston Celtics with Xavier's Jordan Crawford and Purdue's JaJuan Johnson, among others
Thursday » Worked out for the New Jersey Nets with Crawford and Seton Hall's Eugene Harvey, among others
Friday » Worked out for the New York Knicks with Tennessee's Bobby Maze
Saturday » Met with BYU coach Dave Rose and decided to return to Provo for senior season