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Anyone who's talked to me throughout basketball season can attest to how much I adore Jimmer Fredette. I'll tell anyone with two functioning ears (or eyes, for that matter -- neither e-mails, Twitter, nor text messages are impervious to my gushing) about my love for his practically unmatched shooting range and ability to transform Brigham Young University's team from obscurity into a top-ten seed. As Jimmer has become the golden boy of college basketball as of late, it made me wonder if the things that make him so successful as a player and in the eyes of the public couldn't be translated to other fields. And while you might be thinking, "Really, Kellyn? A basketball player named Jimmer and business? That sounds like a bit of a stretch," I think that the principles that guide Jimmer's on-court play can be readily applied to business and marketing initiatives. Take a look below to see the top five things that professionals can take away from Jimmer Fredette.
1. Stay humble.
As the nation's leader in scoring, it would be easy for Jimmer to get an inflated sense of self-importance, but he doesn't. He rarely acknowledges himself as the athlete that ESPN analysts tout him as, and often shies away from questions that ask him to do so in interview situations. The bottom line here? Don't buy into your own hype, stay level-headed, and remember that you're no better than the people you're working with. And hey, if Jimmer can avoid getting complacent with his success after Obama called him the best scorer in the country, I think that there's hope for all of us with this one.
2. Make a big impact.
In an 87-76 victory over New Mexico this season, Jimmer scored a massive 52 points (which is just under 60% of the team's final score). A point total that high has been elusive for most NBA players (Carmelo Anthony remains the only one that's come close this season with 51), so I'm not expecting anyone to go out there and start practicing their shooting skills, but the underlying lesson remains. Find what you can do well and execute it to the fullest, making sure to create positive impact for your organization with every step of the way. Don't settle for just being good enough -- strive to go above and beyond what you're capable of as often as possible.
3. Know when to shoot and when to pass.
Jimmer is undoubtedly a scorer, but he also knows when to dish the ball to his teammates. In last night's game against Wofford, Jimmer led the team in assists by making seven well-executed passes to his teammates. Whether on a basketball court or in an office environment, we all have teams that help us to achieve our goals. Not everyone can carry everything on their own shoulders, so it's important to know when to ask for help and when to be there to provide help to others.
4. Be a team player.
Though the national spotlight is inarguably shining on Jimmer, he never lets the media forget that every game is made possible by a team effort. After scoring the aforementioned 52 points, Jimmer shared the milestone with his teammates. “I thought it was a huge team effort just because these guys were rebounding the heck out of the ball and getting it out in transition,” he said. “It was a team effort and something I’ll never forget.” Your success ultimately rests on the people you work with. Just as your work enables them to do things that they wouldn't be able to do otherwise, they create the framework for which a successful business can run. Take a note from Jimmer's playbook and never forget that working well with your team can create incredible things on all levels.
5. Work hard.
Regardless of the industry, nothing functions as a substitute to hard work. When Jimmer was younger, he'd play pickup games with his older brother, who physically outmatched him in height, weight, and strength. Though his brother sometimes tried to alleviate the pressure and go easy on him, Jimmer wouldn't stand for it and force him to try to block his shots, which resulted in him finding other ways to win through crafty ball fakes and patient jump shots. Take a page out of Jimmer's book on this one and constantly strive to improve in your own field. Don't let anyone expect anything from you but your absolute best. Run into obstacles and find innovative ways to get around them. Don't get discouraged if things don't automatically fall into place. Being the best rarely comes naturally to anyone, but hard work and determination can transform anyone from a kid playing basketball in the backyard with his brother to the nation's leading NCAA scorer. Never underestimate how far that work ethic can get you.
Happy March Madness, everyone!