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Preview: No Jimmer, but Team Fredette has familiar players out to make TBT noise

It has players you know!

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Houston vs Michigan Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Once upon a time, the Fredette brothers were on top of the world. Jimmer was leading BYU to a Sweet 16 run and demolishing Mountain West scoring records. TJ Fredette was an aspiring rapper with a semi-viral song about Jimmer recorded in his basement. They were unstoppable. The ensuing eight years have seen the Fredette brothers rise and fall with the seasons. Jimmer was drafted tenth by the Kings, became a well-known bust, went to China, became the best player in China, and then came back to the NBA with the Phoenix Suns. Jimmer is currently with the Warriors in Vegas Summer League. Meanwhile TJ has...well, I have no idea what TJ has been up to (the rap career did not take off). However, he’s back in the world of professional basketball by managing Team Fredette in The Basketball Tournament. Go figure.

Important note: Jimmer is not on the team. You might think that team Fredette would be some sort of BYU/Mormon All-Star squad filled with guys like Kyle Collinsworth, Jackson Emery, Brandon Davies (with honor restored, of course) and Tyler Haws. This is not the case. In fact, not a single member of Team Fredette went to college in the state of Utah. Not even TJ Fredette himself, who went to SUNY Adirondack, according to the team page.

Instead of a BYU Alumni team, TJ and GM Dan Britten have put together a quintessential “Let’s Remember Some Guys” roster for The Basketball Tournament. The headliners are former Houston point guard Rob Gray, best-known for being very fast and being on the losing end of an all-time great March buzzer-beater.

The team also has Tu Holloway of Xavier, best known for...playing at Xavier. Both Gray and Holloway played in Europe last year. Holloway is making a big move to the Incheon Land Elephants for 2019. Yes, the team’s nickname is Land Elephants, which implies there are Sea or Air Elephants in existence. The other well-known player on this roster is New Mexico great Darington Hobson, who had a cup of coffee with the Bucks before bouncing around Europe and Asia.

Team Fredette also has former Idaho Vandal point guard Jeff Ledbetter. This is somewhat interesting because Jeff has been mighty hard to track in 2019. In January, Ledbetter disappeared from the Austin Spurs G-League team. That’s right; he just left! For a few days, no one knew what happened. The great Two Way and 10 Days blog had this to say:

A head-scratching moment for sure, there is no mention of Ledbetter’s whereabouts on the G League transactions page. No buyout, he wasn’t waived. He’s seemingly gone off the grid without explanation, not even a press release from the team.

When asked about Ledbetter’s status with the Spurs, the initial response was that he simply left the team on Jan 7.

When asked to clarify about the machinations and the language used to report to the G League his status, a team spokesperson wrote via email:

“He did just leave! Thank you for the clarification!”

Needless to say, a player simply cannot leave a team without some sort of explanation, especially while under contract with the G League.

Ledbetter hacked the system by going to the Cuauhtémoc Manzaneros, a Mexican team not sanctioned by FIBA. This meant they did not have to pay the $50,000 international buyout in the G-League contract. Well, regardless, now Jeff and his three-point shooting are on Team Fredette. Strange.

What is this team going to look like? That’s a good question. The only player over 6-foot-8 on the team is former La Salle center Steve Zack. Team Fredette has an array of undersized guards, including 5-foot-6 point guard Jordon Crawford, formerly of Bowling Green. Team Fredette has enough talent to warrant a No. 3 seed in TBT and will play No. 6 seed CitiTeam in Salt Lake City (of course) in the first round. Will fans in Salt Lake City root for Team Fredette simply because of the Fredette name? Of course they will. What is Fredette will never die (in the state of Utah).