Devon Beitzel had a fine career at Northern Colorado, capping it off by being named Big Sky player of the year and making an NCAA tournament appearance. Along the way, people began calling him "Little Jimmer."
That the Bears' opening-round opponent was a Mountain West Conference team in San Diego State made the nickname go national. He was asked about BYU's Jimmer Fredette three times during the pre-game news conference. Beitzel, like Fredette, wore No. 32. He also led his conference in scoring, and was a lights-out shooter who could have posed a threat to the Aztecs.
Beitzel bit his tongue as reporters and the Aztecs called him "Little Jimmer." Northern Colorado coach B.J. Hill told the North County Times, a San Diego-area newspaper, that Beitzel "might be the Mini-Me version" of Fredette. But now as he prepares to try to carve out a career in professional basketball, Beitzel told Dime Magazine that in fact he really didn't like all the nicknames.
"I can’t stand it truthfully," says Beitzel about the numerous Fredette nicknames he’s received this year. "I just think it's ridiculous. I mean, I like to hear that I'm being compared to him and to have people see that our game's are similar. That's cool to see, but the nickname, "Little Jimmer" or "Jimmer Junior," ugh, not for me, man."
He doesn't say this with an ungrateful tone, and certainly not one of cockiness, but with self-confidence. Sure, the similarities between both players are there -- big-time scorers, unfazed by pressure and will unabashedly shoot the rock from anywhere on the floor -- but as with Beitzel's wishes, this isn’t about Jimmer; it's about Beitzel.
Fredette, of course, has been subjected to all sorts of comparisons to various NBA players, including one with Adam Morrison that he doesn't necessarily believe to be true. But it's not as if he's been called "Morrison without the Mustache" or anything like that. He has his own nickname -- The Jimmer.
For Beitzel, it just seems like he wants to be known as Devon Beitzel. He might not be expecting his name to be called in the NBA draft, but he's hoping to make a career out of basketball somewhere based on what he's achieved and overcome.
So cut it out with the "Little Jimmer" nickname, even if the comparisons are fine by him.
"Whenever you get compared to a player like Jimmer, it's a compliment," Beitzel told reporters at the NCAA tournament. "But there's, I mean, no one in the country can do what he does."