Before the game last night Sports Illustrated did a story on how to stop Fredette on defense. CBH's advice to Lee was interesting and a key to our success. CBH told Lee not to stop Fredette from scoring but rather to make him take a lot of shots to get there, reminds me of what some teams have done to Kobe Bryant over the years.
2. BYU's lone loss of the season, 86-79 to UCLA on Dec. 18.
Fredette scored 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting against the Bruins. But he had his fourth-worst game, efficiency-wise, going 2-for-8 from distance and committing a season-high seven turnovers against just one assist. It was his lack of playmaking that did in the Cougars, who had just five assists against 19 turnovers, and shot 23.5 percent from long range.
Although it was, surprisingly, jumbo UCLA center Josh Smith who forced two of Fredette's turnovers by picking his pocket in pick-and-roll situations, the main man behind the shutdown effort was Malcolm Lee, who's regarded as an NBA draft prospect mostly because he's an agile, 6-5 defender. "I feel like I used my length and my wingspan to my advantage," Lee said. "Coach [Ben Howland] told me I wasn't going to stop Jimmer from scoring, but I should focus on lowering his percentage."
Of course, every coach has said stop Jimmer but Malcolm Lee was the only one successful enough to do so in a victory. A lot of credit goes to Lee. Lee also said:
What Lee also did -- and this was shrewd -- was limit Fredette to going mostly one direction. "He likes to go right," Lee said, "but I still tried to send him that way, because if I tried to send him left, and positioned my body that way, he'd still try to go right. By letting him go right, my body was never getting turned in the wrong direction." The image below shows Lee doing exactly that: placing his right foot higher than his left in his defensive stance, and then (although it's grainy) using his frame and quickness to smother Fredette's drive after about three shuffles. The play ended with Lee stripping The Jimmer for a turnover.
It takes a great defender to let the player go his chosen direction and still stop him.
Of course, Lee has shot down a number of other players over the years as well. While we have detailed his stops against Klay Thompson and Jared Cunningham recently, he has been doing it longer that that. In my first fan post after the Arizona game last year I wrote:
CBH accomplished his number #1 priority on defense, he shut down Wise. ML did a good job on defense, don’t fool yourself. When Lee went out at 11:07 in second half, Wise promptly scored. While ML was out Wise scored four points in less than minute. By comparison, Wise scored four points for the game when ML was covering him. No one else on our team could stop him. ML did a good job on one of the PAC 10s best players.
Lee is a great M2M defender and every game we see Jimmer go off just proves how great.