NCAA Sensation "The Jimmer": When character is a building-block for good PR

Jimmer Night in and night out he shocks the basketball world.

He can spin past any defender, make a three-point play on every drive and shoot from any range he sees fit. He is unassuming and humble; silently lethal when he fakes, steps back and fades away, and stoic as he returns to defense.

He’s so enigmatic that people refer to him as “The Jimmer,” as if he’s not a real person, only a waking dream that comes alive on the basketball court.

Not only does he draw attention for his electrifying style of play, Jimmer Fredette has also become the ultimate PR resource.

Now that March Madness is in full swing and this Player of the Year candidate has stated his case, many think they have begun to unravel his storyline and understand what makes him tick. However, “The Jimmer” is not just one young man standing alone on a basketball court. Instead, he is one thread woven into the story of a family and the community behind them.

Sharing Glens Falls as a hometown, but attending a different school district, I got my first taste of the Fredette family brand in high school when I began cross-training for ski racing with Jimmer’s uncle, Lee Taft. Lee is an exceptional athletic trainer and he built a specialized program that played an instrumental role in making Jimmer the athlete he is today. During our sessions together, I recall Jimmer – nearly as fleet-footed as you see him on TV now – patiently explaining and demonstrating the classic “ickey shuffle” agility drill to me as I stumbled across the gym floor.

This was what it felt like to be a part of the Fredette brand. Even though we weren’t teammates, we played different sports and my school was a bitter rival of his, Lee and Jimmer invested time in helping me get faster and I had the opportunity to keep challenging them with every improvement.

This was Jimmer’s way of paying it forward, which he has done throughout his career. When he was very young, his older brother TJ recognized his potential and made him sign a contract. This document mandated that Jimmer must work to constantly improve and strive towards playing in the NBA. It also promised that TJ would always be there to push him and serve as a mentor. Now that Jimmer is on the cusp of fulfilling the promise, he is reaching back and using his newfound public persona to help TJ with his own ambition; hip hop.

But, this is exactly who the Fredette’s are. Hard work is the mantra of the Fredette brand and what differentiates their message from most of the athletes and musicians garnering attention today. It’s also what makes them so marketable.

As a Glens Falls native, I can safely say that as much as our town loves Jimmer for his awe-inspiring play, we are even more proud of the adult he has become. Polished, respectful and well spoken, Jimmer handles himself as well as any athlete can. He is mature beyond his years and when he transitions to the NBA this spring, his sparkling image will be a marquee acquisition for endorsements from any industry.

When Jimmer and his Brigham Young team stepped onto the court at the Glens Falls Civic Center earlier this season, it felt no different than when I watched him run circles around my Queensbury Spartans years ago. The family brand was at its finest, with Jimmer captivating the crowd and TJ keeping the momentum alive through halftime with an energetic, but sentimental performance. Glens Falls is proud to be known as Jimmer’s hometown, but the truth of the matter is, Lee Taft, TJ and every Glens Falls citizen are part of the brand. Now, we’re more excited than ever to take Jimmermania to the next level.

Contributed by Andy Fosbrook. Follow him @atfosbrook