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BYU's Fredette and UNLV's Willis to face off

1/4/2011

BYU's Jimmer Fredette is eagerly awaiting playing at UNLV in Wednesday's Mountain West Conference opener and facing off against Tre'Von Willis, the Rebel charged with stopping him.

"He's a great player, and he always plays well against us in the league," Fredette told reporters. "He played really well last year, and I'm expecting the same thing.

"I know he gets up for the challenge to play against ourselves and myself, and I do the same. It's a good thing to have players like that in the league that you can look forward to playing against."

The two seniors will be the featured matchup in the Las Vegas showdown between the two nationally ranked teams. Both players got the spotlight in the offseason, with Fredette getting All-American consideration from national publications while Willis' legal woes and subsequent suspension were big news in Las Vegas.

In the preseason, the media also picked Fredette as the league's player of the year while Willis made the all-conference team. It was something Willis noticed going into the game against the nation's third-leading scorer, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

"They've got a preseason All-American and supposedly the best player in the conference on the other team, so that's gonna be nothing but fun," the Rebels' senior guard said in reference to Wednesday's monster of a conference opener at the Thomas & Mack Center. "I try to make him earn everything he gets. Like I said, he's got all of those accolades, but he's gotta come in and prove it.

"I take wonderful pride in my defense with whoever I'm guarding, not just him."

Still, the extra boost Willis gets from this matchup multiple times per season is written all over his face when he talks about it. He gives a smile when the words 'BYU' or 'Fredette' are brought up in a question, then chooses the answer carefully.