BYU Fans Snapping Up Gear As Fredette Leads Cougars Into Sweet Sixteen
Sales of BYU basketball merchandise, particulary shirts and jerseys bearing star G Jimmer Fredette's No. 32, "have skyrocketed since BYU began enjoying one of the best seasons in their history, seriously challenging the tired old stereotype of Cougars fans as tightfisted cheapskates," according to a front-page piece by Michael Lewis of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. BYU plays Florida tonight in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, and Cole Evans, Manager at the Fanzz sports-apparel store in Provo, Utah, said that his shop is "on its third run of Fredette jerseys and other Cougar gear." Evans: "We can’t keep Jimmer in stock." Lewis notes the BYU bookstore is "doing even better." Dita Dekeyser, a clothing buyer for the campus bookstore, said that the BYU basketball team "sold 10 times more merchandise at the Marriott Center this season than they did last year and have sold more Fredette jerseys in the past three months than all the football jerseys they’ve sold in the past decade combined." Dekeyser noted that the university "has already prepared its orders for Final Four merchandise" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 3/24).
JIMMER-MANIA: In Utah, Dick Harmon writes under the header, "Cougars Draw National Media Spotlight." ESPN's Rick Reilly and Andy Katz, The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy and reporters from the N.Y. Times, Newsday, CBS Sports and USA Today all are in New Orleans to cover tonight's BYU-Florida game. Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi said, "Jimmer is kind of a mythical figure in college basketball. It's good for the game because there aren't that many people in college basketball that people know and people embrace" (DESERET NEWS, 3/24).