In its first year as a Division 1 independent, BYU launches its college football campaign on a national scale Tuesday in Provo, with its own Football Media Day, originating live from the on-campus BYU Broadcasting studios.
I will be joined by Marc Lyons as we host a live, two-hour Media Day special on KSL Radio (102.7FM and 1160AM and ksl.com), from 1:00-3:00 pm Tuesday afternoon. The second hour of the broadcast (2:00-3:00pm) will also be heard on BYU Radio via byuradio.org and SiriusXM Channel 143.
At noon MT on Friday, the West Coast Conference officially added BYU to its membership, bringing to nine the numbers of affiliated schools in a group of private, faith-based institutions that is seeing its first expansion since 1979.
The WCC used the occasion of BYU's addition to unveil a new look and logo. The new design eliminates the previous "map-based" imaging and replaces it with a clean, bold representation that I think will serve the conference well for years to come.
The first BYU Football and Basketball games I ever called were for the WAC's "quadrant-era" Cougars. My football play-by-play debut was as a fill-in for a recuperating Paul James at the WAC Championship game in Las Vegas, in December of 1996. As the titleist in the Mountain Division, BYU defeated Pacific Division champ Wyoming (hailing from the calming shores of Laramie), and played in the Cotton Bowl, having been shut out of the Bowl Alliance—precursor to the Bowl Championship Series.
That same winter, I began my courtside tenure with the Cougar hoopsters, who would go 1-25 overall; 0-16 in a 16-team league that featured BYU playing cross-quadrant foes SMU, TCU, Rice and Tulsa, and inter-division cross-over opponent Wyoming.
The last week of June represents the first week of the next phase in Jimmer Fredette's career, and the final week of BYU's membership in the Mountain West Conference.
Interestingly, July 1st represents key a date for both Fredette and BYU. Friday could be the first day of an NBA lockout, and will be the first day of BYU's membership in the West Coast Conference. The countdown is on.
Jimmer Fredette's westward journey continued Thursday night. The kid from upstate New York has gone from the Rocky Mountains on to Northern California, with the consensus national player of the year in college basketball making the leap to the pros by becoming the tenth selection in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft.
Fredette was picked by the Milwaukee Bucks, who made the pick for the Sacramento Kings, one of the teams involved in a three-way deal that also featured the Charlotte Bobcats.
Sitting down with me on NBA Draft day, BYU head coach Dave Rose said Jimmer Fredette "is the best college scorer that I've ever been around," and that "for what Jimmer does, and the skill set that he has...he can play at any level in any league."
"The NBA game is a lot different than the college game," said Rose, "(but) every coach needs a guy who can make baskets, and Jimmer can make baskets--from the perimeter, at the rim, at the free throw line, on balance, off balance. You just need guys who can make baskets."
Jimmer Fredette drew a large crowd around his table at the NBA's Draft Week media availability this morning in New York City, attracting more attention than most of the higher-ranked players who will be joining Jimmer in the "green room" tomorrow night.
You can hear Jimmer's entire 30-minute media session by clicking on the "play" button in the "Cougar Cuts" box to the right; you can also hear a conversation I had with Jimmer's Octagon agent Chris Emens.
The first clue about what kind of week this is going to be for Jimmer Fredette was when his PR rep said we probably shouldn't shoot our scheduled interview with Jimmer outside, near the lights of Times Square.
Too many people, too many autograph-seekers, too many complications. Even in New York City, where commotion and celebrity are facts of life, Jimmer needs a little peace and quiet where he can find it.
Jimmer Fredette remains the "mystery man" of this year's NBA Draft; is he a sure-fire top-ten pick, a high-teen lottery selection, or someone who will slip on Thursday night?
Everyone seems to have an opinion, but the opinions of the team executives for whom Fredette worked out have been uniformly positive. That feedback has led Jimmer to enter draft week brimming with confidence and positivity, based on those close to Fredette.
Following a selective NBA workout schedule that took him to five cities from east coast to west coast, Jimmer Fredette is home again--back in Glens Falls, NY for a few days, before heading downstate to start the next phase of his basketball-playing career.
By Jake Hatch, KSL Radio Sports Producer
SALT LAKE CITY -- It was media day at the Zion's Bank Basketball Center and inside the media gathered for what was the Jazz' biggest pre-draft workout of the year.
No fewer than 50 media members crowded around Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker, Jazz Head Coach Tyrone Corbin and Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor when the doors opened to the Jazz practice court. Coach Corbin and O'Connor both said they were surprised by the attention this workout received.
He hasn't yet taken his first class at Lone Peak High School, yet T.J. Haws already has his first college scholarship offer: from BYU.
As confirmed by T.J.'s father and former BYU star guard Marty Haws, Cougar head coach Dave Rose has offered the sophomore-to-be, with Marty saying T.J. was "thrilled."
Jimmer Fredette's NBA workout schedule took him to Sacramento on Thursday for his third of five planned practice sessions prior to the NBA Draft on June 23rd.
In the boxes below, you can see workout video and Jimmer Fredette interview video, as produced by the Kings production staff.
Wednesday was another day for BYU to reap the exposure dividends of its new affiliations with ESPN, as the Worldwide Leader announced a contract extension with the West Coast Conference, while claiming another Cougar football game for telecast in 2011.
ESPN's new eight-year contract extension with the WCC will increase the number of men's basketball appearances to an all-time high for the league, making it also the "best deal signed by any non-BCS league," as characterized by Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury-News.
The 2010-11 athletics season was another successful one for BYU and its broadcast partner KSL Radio, as exclusive play-by-play coverage of the Cougars' football and basketball games dominated the sports radio marketplace.
According to Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) data for the Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo Designated Market Area (DMA), BYU broadcasts on KSL Radio continue to garner the largest and most passionate listening audiences in Utah, with ratings comfortably surpassing those of both University of Utah Football/Basketball and Utah Jazz radio broadcasts.
'Tis the season for preseason research, as the 2011 BYU Football campaign looms less than three months in the distance.
With Phil Steele's College Football Preview arriving at my house over the weekend, I now have in my possession the four magazines that comprise my summer reading staple: Steele's annual opus, and the college football previews by Sporting News, Athlon and Lindy's. The book-form Blue Ribbon Yearbook is on order, so that will soon be on the way.
And, in the last few days, the BYU Athletic Communications Department has released its excellent 2011 Season Prospectus. Football Media Relations Director Brett Pyne and his right-hand man Jordan Christiansen have done a great job of whetting the appetite for Cougar football fans with a comprehensive recap and outlook; it is required reading for people, who like myself, can't get enough off-season analysis.
A New York state high school scoring phenom, Jimmer Fredette returned to his home state on Thursday morning, working out for the New York Knicks, holders of the 17th pick in the first round of the NBA Draft.
You can watch a pair of post-workout interviews with Jimmer by clicking on the "Related Links" to the right.
While all of the kickoff times are yet to be determined, we now know when BYU's first season as a Division I football independent will officially start, with live play-by-play coverage on KSL Radio.
As announced by the University of Mississippi today, BYU will open the season Saturday, September 3rd at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi, with a 2:45pm MT kickoff; the game will be televised on ESPN.
As first indicated Tuesday in "Cougar Tracks", former University of Utah hoopster Josh Sharp will transfer to BYU after his return from an LDS mission to Texas.
The last day of May featured Jimmer Fredette taking part in his first NBA team workout, a session with the Indiana Pacers. The first day of June arrives with Fredette facing a jam-packed three weeks before the NBA Draft on June 23rd.
Fredette's Pacers' workout was well-received, and he talked about it on an Indianapolis sports radio station with former college coach and current analyst Dan Dakich.
The station representative who can assist a person with disabilities with issues related to the content of the public files is Mike Dowdle, available during regular office hours at firstname.lastname@example.org and (801) 575-5555.