With the prospect of the NBA lockout looming ever larger, we have to look for solace in something to occupy our collective basketball thirst. Last night, in Provo UT, that thirst was quenched for a few delightful hours. Jimmer Fredette reached out to former Mountain West Conference rival Kawhi Leonard to see if they could get a game started for the new NBA rookies. It was agreed upon, and the draft for the Jimmer All Star Game started last Saturday
Both teams featured four first-round picks (two of which were leading candidates for player of the year) apiece, and both teams had players who had won national titles (Nolan Smith and Kemba Walker). Team Fredette featured Jackson Emery, Kenneth Faried, Nolan Smith, Christ Singleton, Tyler Honeycutt, Charles Jenkins and Chris Wright.
Team Leonard featured Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, Tobias Harris, Malcolm Lee, Vernon Macklin, Isaiah Thomas and Jake Kelly. Both teams came ready to play, and most importantly to have fun.
The players were all smiles throughout the both halves of play. Defense was scarce and Sportscenter highlights were plentiful as the NBA rookies flew around the Marriot Center court. The fans, who despite having a clear Team Jimmer bias, cheered every good play.
Fredette left no doubt that he is a legitimate NBA prospect. Defensively, he kept Walker in front of him most of the game, and demanded respect on the offensive end. Jimmer was splitting double teams and getting to the rim at will. Once he did so, he left teammates–like Faried–open for easy highlight dunks on the weakside. Fans cheered as the explosive one-two-three punch of Fredette, Smith and Faried worked their magic.
On the opposite side, Thomas, Leonard, Harris and Walker certainly impressed the fans as well. Leonard, defensively, resembled his future San Antonio Spur teammate Tim Duncan. Offensivley, Leonard had flashes of brilliance as he drove to the cup and scored almost at will. Despite Leonard’s play, Thomas was the fan favorite for Team Leonard. Standing at 5′ 8″, Thomas thrilled the crowd with athleticism and tenacity. Thomas had two thundering dunks that brought the crowd to its feet. When the clock hit zero, Team Leonard came away with the 138-128 victory.
Overall, it was a welcome reprieve to ever-spiraling lockout discussions. Fans, in search of something special and fun, found it in Provo on Thursday night.
Author: Andrew Snow is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online courses they can choose from to reach their goals. The site even helps students find online mba programs to fit their needs.