Gracious, humble and classy.
All three words are good ways to describe how BYU star Jimmer Fredette handled the awarding of another national player of the year award, this time the John R. Wooden Award, tonight at the venerable Los Angeles Athletic Club in downtown L.A.
Fredette won handily, racking up 3761 "points" to 3,356 points for runner-up Kemba Walker of UConn. OSU's Jared Sullinger (2,637), Duke's Nolan Smith (2,371) and Arizona's Derrick Williams (1,913) rounded out the top five.
Placing sixth through 10th were Notre Dame's Ben Hansbrough, Kansas' Marcus Morris, Purdue's JaJuan Johnson, SDSU's Kawhi Leonard and KSU's Jacob Pullen.
Voting was closed before last weekend's Final Four games.
When I asked him if there was any back-and-forth talk between him and Kemba Walker, the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award winner, Fredette went on about how much he liked Walker, how great of a guy Walker is, and then added that Walker was as deserving of the Wooden Award as he was.
"We're good friends," Fredette said.
A few other highlights of the night:
* Fredette was sporting a new haircut on Friday night, and wore a 'Y' pin on his lapel.
* Asked about rumors that he recently became engaged, Fredette called them untrue.
"I'm not engaged," he said. "I have heard that many times." He said he's been dating his girlfriend, a BYU cheerleader, for nearly a year and a half.
* During a Q&A session with the moderator, coach Dave Rose said, "We had quite a ride with Jimmermania."
* Fredette called the last two weeks, when he went 6 for 6 in hauling in player of the year awards, "surreal" and "unbelievable." He said it was an unforgettable experience.
"I definitely enjoyed the ride," he said. "I had a great time being with my coaches and my teammates. It was the most fun I ever had in my life."
* The Wooden Award trophy is quite large, and heavy. Fredette laughed when he was asked if he has a trophy case big enough to store all that hardware.
"My mom is pretty creative," he said. "I have a pretty small house in New York, so I am not sure I can fit them all in. It has been surreal. I have been all over and met a lot of great people."
* John Wooden's son, Jim Wooden, presented Fredette with the award, but slipped up when saying his last name and mispronounced it. No matter. Everybody knows him as Jimmer, anyway.
The master of ceremonies at one time said Jimmer is known by one name. "Kobe. Gaga. Jimmer," he said.
* UConn's Walker apparently had a 10:30 p.m. flight out of LAX to catch. Fredette was announced the winner around 9:20 p.m., or so, and Walker was quickly whisked away to catch the flight and was not able to hang around and take pictures with the other honorees or sign autographs.
|1.||NBA: Utah Jazz players look to make an impact on world stage|
|2.||Atlanta’s Paul Millsap added to Team USA roster|
|3.||Salt Lake, San Diego comic con name feud would set precedent|
|4.||Is a fee for solar energy users a ‘sun tax’ or fair play?|
|5.||Tour de France: Humble, ambitious Nibali had an early cycling dream|
|6.||Attorney: FBI did ‘reasonable’ search for OK City bombing records|
|7.||Compound built for Warren Jeffs becomes bed and breakfast|
|8.||Bagley Cartoon: Comic Con Controversy|
|9.||Gold bugs, Bitcoin believers in bid to supplant dollar|
|10.||Train rocks Salt Lake City with free show|