Men's Basketball

CJ Fredrick Healthy, Ready to Contribute

by Tim Letcher

Sometimes, a negative can be turned into a positive. That’s what Kentucky guard CJ Fredrick is hoping will happen for him this season.

After battling through a foot injury prior to last season, Fredrick appeared to be just about healthy enough to start playing. Then, the injury bug struck him a second time, during warmups for the Cats game against Duke in Madison Square Gardne.

“I knew I felt something off but when you’re in the Garden and you’re getting ready to play Duke, you don’t really think about it,” Fredrick said. “But later, when I got off the plane, my leg was so swollen and I knew that something was wrong.”

Turns out it was a torn hamstring, an injury that would require surgery. That surgery kept him out for the remainder of the year. Fredrick admits that he had a tough time coping with the injury.

“When I had my second surgery, there were just so many people saying ‘I feel bad for you’ and I had about a whole day where I just cried with my family,” he said. “I didn’t understand why these things happened to me.”

However, Fredrick now looks back at the injury, and the time he spent learning last season, as a blessing.

“My body feels really good. This is probably the most athletic and most quick I’ve ever been,” Fredrick said. “It allowed me to focus on myself and my body and it gave me time to heal my body. It’s given me time.”

In addition to working on his body, Fredrick was allowed to study the game from the sidelines and learn what head coach John Calipari and his staff are expecting.

“This is my second year at Kentucky. I feel like I’m a veteran here,” Fredrick said. “I know Cal, I know the plays. Obviously, I didn’t want to get hurt, but it’s almost been like a blessing for me. Just being able to learn about the game, learn what Cal likes. It’s been a good six, seven months.”

CJ Fredrick.Big Blue Madness.Photo by Sarah Caputi | UK Athletics

Fredrick says he has now been cleared by the doctors and the trainers, but that he can’t immediately be fully immersed in all basketball activities. So, there is a plan leading up to UK’s trip to the Bahamas in August.

“I’ve worked extremely hard to get back and get my body in the best shape possible. We have a good five-week plan.”

For Fredrick, being able to play in the Bahamas in August is a goal and an opportunity.

“I’m super excited,” Fredrick said. “For me, that could be my first game back. It’s a goal for me just because it gives me an opportunity to go out there and mess up and it doesn’t count. If I don’t play well or I mess up, that’s what I need. But it’s a great opportunity for us to bond.”

Fredrick has been known as a shooter for quite some time, and it’s not a label he necessarily wants to shed.

“I’ve been labeled that since I was in the eighth grade,” Fredrick said. “So, that’s something that I think is definitely going to stay with me. I can really shoot the ball but I like to be able to do other things.”

However, Fredrick is also known as a fierce competitor on defense.

“I don’t know why people think I’m a bad defender,” Fredrick said. “In high school and in college, I’ve been one of the better defenders on my teams. I take a lot of pride in it.”

During his sophomore season at Iowa, Fredrick averaged 7.5 points and 1.9 assists per game, starting all 27 games in which he played. He shot 47.4 percent from three-point range, which seems like a big number but one that he hopes to improve to at least 50 percent this season.

For a Kentucky team that struggled to shoot the ball last season, Fredrick could be just the answer the team needs. Either way, Fredrick is thrilled to be back and ready to play the game he loves once again.

“I've worked extremely hard to get back and get my body in the best shape possible. We have a good five-week plan.”

C.J. Fredrick

Fredrick says he has now been cleared by the doctors and the trainers, but that he can’t immediately be fully immersed in all basketball activities. So, there is a plan leading up to UK’s trip to the Bahamas in August.

“I’ve worked extremely hard to get back and get my body in the best shape possible. We have a good five-week plan.”

For Fredrick, being able to play in the Bahamas in August is a goal and an opportunity.

“I’m super excited,” Fredrick said. “For me, that could be my first game back. It’s a goal for me just because it gives me an opportunity to go out there and mess up and it doesn’t count. If I don’t play well or I mess up, that’s what I need. But it’s a great opportunity for us to bond.”

CJ Fredrick.The Kentucky men's basketball team participating in its summer strength and conditioning program.Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Fredrick has been known as a shooter for quite some time, and it’s not a label he necessarily wants to shed.

“I’ve been labeled that since I was in the eighth grade,” Fredrick said. “So, that’s something that I think is definitely going to stay with me. I can really shoot the ball but I like to be able to do other things.”

However, Fredrick is also known as a fierce competitor on defense.

“I don’t know why people think I’m a bad defender,” Fredrick said. “In high school and in college, I’ve been one of the better defenders on my teams. I take a lot of pride in it.”

During his sophomore season at Iowa, Fredrick averaged 7.5 points and 1.9 assists per game, starting all 27 games in which he played. He shot 47.4 percent from three-point range, which seems like a big number but one that he hopes to improve to at least 50 percent this season.

For a Kentucky team that struggled to shoot the ball last season, Fredrick could be just the answer the team needs. Either way, Fredrick is thrilled to be back and ready to play the game he loves once again.

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