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The biggest man in the room

Jimmer Fredette returns to inspire new generation of basketball players

Sacramento Kings guard and Glens Falls native Jimmer Fredette, center, demonstrates his dribbling skills to a group of young players on the opening day of his “Jimmer Jam” camp Thursday at the Saratoga Springs Recreation Center. Three hundred kids are attending the three-day camp.

Sacramento Kings guard and Glens Falls native Jimmer Fredette, center, demonstrates his dribbling skills to a group of young players on the opening day of his “Jimmer Jam” camp Thursday at the Saratoga Springs Recreation Center. Three hundred kids are attending the three-day camp. Robert Goo

— Fredette also made this a family affair. T.J. also talked to the players, and Fredette's father, mother and sister were all present to lend a hand during the camp.

Still, there was only one Fredette that the campers wanted to see.

"It's incredible to see the way people look at him," said T.J. Fredette. "I still see him as Jimmer, and I sometimes forget that he's this celebrity."

Fredette became a national celebrity during his senior season at Brigham Young University when he led the nation in scoring average and won several awards as the year's top player. His long three-point shots and twisting layups were often highlighted on ESPN SportsCenter. After a 43-point performance against San Diego State, NBA star Kevin Durant sent out a message on Twitter calling Fredette "the best scorer in the world."

Fredette joined Durant's world last June when he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks and subsequently traded to the Sacramento Kings several minutes later. But the NBA lockout, an early-season coaching change in Sacramento and inconsistent playing time quieted the buzz around Fredette.

"It was probably one of the toughest situations to step into as a rookie," said T.J., who spent the entire 2011-12 NBA season living with his brother in Sacramento. "It's something he had to adjust to."

Fredette said he had to remain true to himself through it all.

"You've just got to stay positive," said Fredette. "It's important to keep working hard and when you have a bad game, you have to have a short memory and move on."

Fredette's up-and-down rookie NBA season did nothing to quell the admiration felt towards him by Capital District basketball fans. He got a warm reception at a special dinner Tuesday in Glens Falls, which helped raise money for his Fredette Family Foundation. And then, there were all of those wide-eyed young basketball players at Thursday's first session of "Jimmer Jam."

"This is the first camp I've been to with an NBA player, and I'm really excited to be here," said Jaden Giammattei.

"I love to be able to come out and see these kids and see their smiling faces. It makes me smile," said Fredette.

The "Jimmer Jam" camp continues through Saturday at the Saratoga Springs Recreation Center. After that, Fredette has another camp scheduled for Aug. 7-9 in Utah, and then he begins preparing for his second NBA season.

"I'm looking forward to having a great season, and hopefully our team will have a great season," said Fredette.

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