Who Had The Better College Career, Jimmer Fredette Or Zion Williamson?

Feb 24, 2021, 1:25 PM | Updated: 1:25 pm
Jimmer Fredette - Zion Williamson...
Former college basketball stars Jimmer Fredette (BYU) and Zion Williamson (Duke) both won the Naismith Award in college. (Photos courtesy of Getty Images)
(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – You’re probably thinking, here we go again, another article from the Utah media trying to get Jimmer Fredette in the news. This comes from a national college basketball insider in Andy Katz from

Katz, a longtime college hoops reporter, ranked the last 10 winners of the prestigious Naismith Award. An award given to College Basketball’s best player. Fredette took home the hardware in 2011 after leading BYU to their first Sweet 16 appearance in 30 years.

Is Fredette the best Naismith winner in the past 10 years of college hoops?

Almost, according to Katz.

Fredette checked in at No. 2 on Katz’s list. Ranked only behind New Orleans Pelicans All-Star and former Duke star Zion Williamson.

Williamson played only one season at Duke from 2018-19. He averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, and 2.1 steals per game for the Blue Devils. He was a national spectacle that the college basketball tuned in to watch every time they could, but should he be ranked above Fredette?

Look, if we’re basing this off of the NBA, it’s not a debate. I understand that. But imagine if Fredette and BYU in the 2010-11 season were in a conference that was featured every night on ESPN like Duke was with Zion?

Jimmer Fredette created “Jimmermania” with games being played on The mtn. and Twitter in its infancy stage. Fredette would have received all the hype in today’s social media world, and it likely would have grown his legendary status.

Fredette averaged 28.9 points per game and dropped three-pointers all over the court in his senior year with BYU.

It’s a great debate as to which Naismith Award winner was greater in college. There’s a strong argument that Jimmer was the best of the past 10 years, but you can’t go wrong with Zion. Who proved at Duke he was a generational talent.

Katz’s full list of Naismith winners over the past 10 years

1. Zion Williamson, Duke

2. Jimmer Fredette, BYU

3. Anthony Davis, Kentucky

4. Buddy Heild, Oklahoma

5. Doug McDermott, Creighton

6. Trey Burke, Michigan

7. Jalen Brunson, Villanova

8. Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin

9. Obi Toppin, Dayton

10. Frank Mason III, Kansas

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

BYU Cougars

Big 12, Conference Realignment...
Mitch Harper

What’s Next For New Big 12, BYU Amid Super Conference Moves?

What's next for the Big 12 Conference?
3 days ago
Josh Wilson, BYU Football, Zach Wilson Brother...
Mitch Harper

BYU Football Linebacker Josh Wilson Survives Car Accident On Freeway

Wilson is a third-year linebacker with the BYU football program.
3 days ago
Atunaisa Mahe - BYU Football...
KSL Sports

60 in 60: #46 BYU’s Atunaisa Mahe (Defensive Lineman)

Throughout the summer Hans & Scotty are counting down the top 60 college football players in the state of Utah.
4 days ago
Brett Yormark, Big 12, Big 12 Conference Commissioner...
Mitch Harper

Brett Yormark Officially Hired As Next Big 12 Commissioner

Yormark is the fifth commissioner in the history of the Big 12 Conference that dates back to 1996.
4 days ago
BYU Basketball Roster, Mark Pope, 2022-23...
Mitch Harper

BYU’s 2022-23 Basketball Roster Looks To Bring Back ‘BLRA’

Taking an in-depth look at the 2022-23 BYU Basketball roster, the fourth under head coach Mark Pope.
5 days ago
BYU Football Helmet...
Mitch Harper

BYU Lands Commitment From Camp Standout Pierson Watson

BYU picks up its sixth commitment in the class of 2023.
5 days ago
Who Had The Better College Career, Jimmer Fredette Or Zion Williamson?