Who is the Best Section II Player Ever?
It could be Talor Battle of Bishop Maginn. Maybe it’s Rashaun Freeman or Mark Lyons of Schenectady.
It might be someone older, like Sam Perkins of Shaker, or Greg Koubek of Shenendehowa.
It could be Albany’s Lionel Chalmers, or maybe Columbia’s Craig Forth or Alex Zampier.
It could be someone we all wanted to rally around in Troy’s Tiki Mayben.
Or maybe it’s someone I didn’t even name at all.
As the Section II playoffs hit full stride tonight, we’re looking back on who the best player to ever come out of the Capital District is.
I played against Battle and Zampier. They were special. Battle had a quick first step, an ability to finish at the rim and a defensive tenacity that allowed him to guard anyone. His skillset served him well at the next level as he garnered multiple All-Big 10 honors at Penn State and finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer.
He was also just the third player in NCAA history to post at least 2,000 points, 600 rebounds and 500 assists. He was a stud.
As were others on this list. Freeman was a three-time first-team All-Atlantic 10 selection at UMass. Lyons took both Xavier and Arizona to the NCAA tournament.
Perkins played at North Carolina and spent 17 seasons in the NBA while Koubek played at Duke, becoming one of the only players in NCAA history to play in four final fours. He was a McDonald’s All-American in high school. And the New York State “Mr. Basketball” in 1987.
Everyone on this list is/was great. And they all could have a case that they are the best player to ever call Section II home. But for me, the answer is simple.
It’s the only person I didn’t mention above. It’s Jimmer Fredette of Glens Falls.
While Jimmer has his detractors in “The League,” he’s always had a positive reputation in the Capital Region. And I’m no different.
Fredette scored 2,404 points in high school career. That’s first in Section II history and sixth in New York State history.
He averaged nearly 30 points a game as a junior and a senior and led Glens Falls to the Class A state title game in his final season.
He was the Albany Times Union Player of the Year in 2006. And then he went on to win the National Player of the Year award in college at BYU. He averaged 29 points a game as a senior and led BYU to a number three seed in the NCAA tournament in 2010-11.
Simply put, there was nothing that Jimmer couldn’t do. He has the purest jumper I’ve ever seen in person. And he has the creativity to finish at the rim as well.
You can disagree all you want. But, watch this highlight below of his NCAA tournament performance against Gonzaga in 2011 and tell me if you still do. He’s number 32 in case you forgot. You’ll see him pass it a bit, but you’ll see that jumper I mentioned more than anything.
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