NEWARK – The celebration was interrupted at the start, delayed a little longer and then held mostly behind closed doors for No. 10 pick Jimmer Fredette.
Sure, the Prudential Center got a dose of “Jimmer-Mania” during Thursday night’s draft, but nothing like we might have seen had Fredette not been a part of a three-team trade that saw him put on a Milwaukee Bucks hat to make his ceremonial walk across the stage to shake NBA Commissioner David Stern‘s hand, only to swap it out later for a Sacramento Kings’ lid.
Instead of making the normal media rounds like most of the other draft picks, Fredette remained sequestered in a private room in the bowels of the arena as the details of that trade were worked out.
By the time he did emerge from the back, it was clear that former BYU star was just relieved to finally be able to celebrate properly.
“Took a while waiting back there,” Fredette said. “But it’s a great moment for me and my family, and for the Sacramento Kings organization. Hopefully their fan base is excited, because I’m really excited to get out there and start the season with them and have a great year. So I’m looking forward to it.”
Not anymore than the folks in Sacramento.
The 10th pick in the draft was the only one to receive a shout out from the mayor of the city he will call home for the start of his professional career.
Former NBA star and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson made his approval of the Kings’ pick public immediately.
“Jimmer is exactly what the Kings need right now,” he said in a statement. “He’s electric, a fan favorite and a competitor. Together with Tyreke [Evans], they will create one of the most dynamic, young guard combos in the NBA. Congrats to the Kings on an exciting pick.”