WEST VALLEY CITY — Dave Rose has experienced almost every possible scenario in his 30-plus years of coaching basketball.
Late Thursday night in the Maverik Center was a first for him.
The recently retired BYU men’s basketball coach was on the sidelines at The Basketball Tournament for the first time, heading up Team Fredette. By his side, the team’s namesake, Jimmer Fredette, who opted not to play in the tournament but to coach instead.
After a poor first half against CitiTeam Blazers, the two men put their heads together to come up with a plan to make up a 19-point deficit.
Rose: “I told Jimmer at halftime, ‘Listen, we’ve got two things: We’ve either got to lock them down or figure out a way to score a lot of points.’”
If there was a constant throughout Rose’s career, it was on the offensive side of the ball.
Team Fredette went small and rallied for a thrilling 99-96 win, ending the game on an 18-foot fall-away jump shot by 5-foot-7 guard Jordon Crawford.
“He’s made a few of those in his life,” Rose said in the post-game.
CitiTeam Blazers pounded the ball inside to former San Diego State standout Malcolm Thomas and drained 3-pointers easily early in the game. Meanwhile, Team Fredette struggled to make shots and was just 2 for its first 13 from the field. Rose’s team missed its first nine 3-pointers.
Predictably, Team Fredette trailed big. CitiTeam Blazers led 30-15 after one quarter and 54-36 at the half. Team Fredette, with guards Crawford, former Houston star Rob Gray and Jeff Ledbetter in the lineup, made a run at CitiTeam Blazers in the second quarter and even though the deficit was 22 early in the third quarter, they felt the game was still within reach.
What was the message from the coaching staff at halftime?
“It’s not over,” Fredette said. “In this game you can get up 20 or you can get down 20 pretty quick. Last year (in the TBT) there were a couple of times we were down 15 and came back. We decided at halftime to put in the guys that played with us last year and had been through that. They got on a roll and started to really come together.”
Ledbetter got hot from the 3-point line, which opened up driving lanes for Crawford and Gray. Team Fredette outscored CitiTeam Blazers 36-23 in the third period to get back in the game.
Big man Steve Zack did the dirty work, setting mean screens and rebounding. DeVonta Pollard made big plays around the rim, including a 3-point play to give Team Fredette a 90-88 lead with under four minutes to play and set the Elam Ending at 98.
CItiTeam Blazers tied the game at 92 and 94 but Gray’s driving layup pushed the Team Fredette lead to 97-94. CitiTeam Blazers cut the lead to one, 97-96, but Crawford’s step back jumper put the game away.
Gray led Team Fredette with 31 points, with Crawford and Ledbetter adding 20 each. The two teams combined for 70 3-point attempts, with CitiTeam Blazers making 16 and Team Fredette 11.
Rose said he likes the Elam Ending.
“Every night there’s a game winner,” he said, “but what I like most about it is it really defines your togetherness and your toughness, because you got to get to a number and stop them from getting to a number. It gets pretty intense.”
Intense also described Fredette, who was in animated discussions with the officials during most of the game but especially when the Elam Ending was being set.
“Jimmer was all over that Elam Ending,” Rose laughed. “Jimmer is aggressive on the bench. He loves to get on the refs. He never said a word to the refs when he played. I think he was mic’d up the whole game so you can maybe get a transcript. He got after those officials pretty good.”
Fredette, who recently signed a two-year contract with Panathinaikos of the EuroLeague, said there was no rule keeping him out of the TBT. He just decided not to play.
In the postgame interview, Rose said, “He told me that he purposely left his shoes at home so he wouldn’t put them on at halftime.”
Crawford quipped, “We got go right to the store and get him some.”
But Fredette, who reports to his new Greek team on Aug. 18, said he was fine just coaching in the TBT.
“This is their thing, they (the players) won the game,” he said. “These guys are talented players. We brought in guards who can really score the basketball.”
As for a career in coaching after he finishes playing, Fredette said he isn’t interested.
“It’s too nerve wracking for me,” he said. “I don’t like being out there and not being about to play. I can see what Coach has been going through the past 30 years of his life. He was so calm over there. He was relaxed and I was just like, everywhere. I don’t know if I see myself doing that or not.”
Team Fredette was scheduled to play in the Salt Lake Regional semifinals against Team Challenge ALS on Friday night.