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MIDTERM GRADES

Feb. 20, 2012
Feb. 20, 2012

Table of Contents
Feb. 20, 2012

LEADING OFF
GOLF PLUS
THE MAIL
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
PHIL VS. TIGER
COLLEGE BASKETBALL
COUNTDOWN TO MADNESS
PRO BASKETBALL
PRO HOCKEY
WES LEONARD
  • You may have heard about the Michigan high schooler who made a game-winning basket and then died. Here's the rest of the story: a violent car crash, a bone-shaking tackle, a near-perfect season, a reluctant substitute and a search for the will to carry on

POINT AFTER
Departments

MIDTERM GRADES

How four of the more enigmatic picks from the 2011 draft are faring

JIMMER FREDETTE, NO. 10,Kings

This is an article from the Feb. 20, 2012 issue

REASON FOR INTRIGUE

Fredette was a 6'2", 195-pound (college) scoring machine with a deadly (college) jumper, but NBA scouts were divided on whether the skills that electrified (college) crowds would translate to the NBA.

SEASON SO FAR

Fredette has had his highs (a four-game stretch at the end of January in which he averaged 16.5 points) and lows (back-to-back DNP-CDs to open February). His biggest problem: He's not playing as aggressively as he did at BYU. "We want Jimmer to make plays," Sacramento coach Keith Smart said recently. "When he comes off a pick, he has to take that shot. He needs to become a little selfish."

GRADE: C+

ENES KANTER, NO. 3,Jazz

REASON FOR INTRIGUE

Kanter sat out last season after being declared ineligible at Kentucky for receiving extra benefits while playing for a pro team in his native Turkey.

SEASON SO FAR

Rusty and stuck behind a pair of productive big men (Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson), Kanter had played only 14.4 minutes per game at week's end, but his per-36-minute numbers (12.5 points, 12.3 rebounds) aren't bad. "He's physical—maybe too physical, because he tries to go right through everyone," says a scout. "But he has a high motor and a nice midrange jump shot."

GRADE: B

BISMACK BIYOMBO, NO. 7,Bobcats

REASON FOR INTRIGUE

It wasn't clear whether the 6'9", 229-pound Biyombo, who played professionally in Spain the past two years, was a forward or a center.

SEASON SO FAR

Biyombo is strictly a pivot now. The youngest active player in the league at 19, he had an 11-point, 12-rebound effort in his first start, at Phoenix on Feb. 4, calling to mind Ben Wallace. A very raw Ben Wallace, that is. "He has no clue how to play," says a scout. "He brings the ball down when he catches it. He goes for every pump fake. He is always off-balance. He has a long way to go."

GRADE: C+

REGGIE JACKSON, NO. 24,Thunder

REASON FOR INTRIGUE

He was the draft's mystery man, refusing almost all private workout requests, citing a knee injury.

SEASON SO FAR

With Eric Maynor out for the year with a torn ACL, Jackson has been more than adequate as the backup point guard. His numbers aren't gaudy (3.5 points, 1.2 assists through Sunday), but West-leading Oklahoma City just needs him to seamlessly run the offense—and he has.

GRADE: A-

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PHOTOSAM FORENCICH/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (FREDETTE)JIMMER OF HOPE Former BYU star Fredette has shown flashes with Sacramento, but his rookie season has had as many downs as ups.