GLENS FALLS, N.Y. — Local legend Jimmer Fredette is back in the NBA, and those he left an indelible impression upon in his hometown couldn’t be happier.
The Phoenix Suns signed Fredette for the rest of the season Friday with a team option for 2019-20.
The 30-year-old won every national college player of the year award his senior season at Brigham Young University in 2011 after leading the country in scoring at 28.9 points per game. He was traded to Sacramento after being selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft by Milwaukee and got into two games with the Knicks during the 2015-16 season.
He spent the last three seasons playing for Shanghai of the Chinese Basketball Association, leading the league in scoring last season with 36.9 points per game.
“We were ecstatic,” said Glens Falls High School boys basketball coach Robert Girard, who has coached in the program since 2003. “Chills up the back of your spine when we heard that. We’ve been complaining for the last three or four years, ‘Why isn’t anyone giving him a shot?’ It was awesome to hear that news.”
Fredette scored 2,404 career points at Glens Falls High School, setting the town abuzz with his trademark shooting range. He led the team to the state Class B sectional title in Albany and then into the state title game at Glens Falls Civic Center, a short drive from his home.
His career then took off at BYU, but he never found his footing in the NBA, spending time with four organizations in five years. He earned a 10-day contract with the Knicks after scoring 35 points in the D-League All-Star Game in Feb. 2016 but played just five minutes in two games.
Fredette still works out at his old high school during the offseason.
“What he has endured over the last part of his NBA career, he never wavered. Never once.” Glens Falls athletic director Chip Corlew said. “I remember what he said to me two years ago when he was working out at the school. He said, ‘Mr. Corlew, I’m still realizing my dream. I’m still playing basketball. I’m still getting paid to play a sport I love.’ ”
Joseph Girard III, a Syracuse commit whose limitless range has resulted in 49.1 points per game during his senior season, said he admired Fredette growing up. Girard III is the state’s all-time leading scorer with 4,678 points entering the team’s state Federation Class B semifinal against South Bronx Prep on Saturday afternoon.
The two work out together in the offseason.
“There are obviously people growing up who you look up to and strive to be like, and I would say he was definitely the one I was looking up to,” Girard III said. “To watch a hometown hero like him do it, it makes me want to work even harder. He set the way for a lot of kids here in the 5-1-8, and it just goes to show you can follow in his footsteps.”
Fredette was made available for his Suns debut in Saturday’s game against the Kings, according to 98.7 Arizona Sports.
Said Robert Girard: “I think when you have a superstar like that and you have kids looking up to him, dreams come true for those little guys watching.”