Two of Jimmer Fredette's teammates have witnessed how revered he is in Utah.
In September, during the NBA lockout, Tyler Honeycutt and Isaiah Thomas played in a charity exhibition game hosted by Fredette at BYU.
Thomas recalled the experience in Utah, or as he called it, "the state of Jimmer," where Fredette's fans flock to him.
"It's unreal," Thomas said. "He's like a god out there, he really is. I've seen people cry over him, being right next to him. That's like some Michael Jackson stuff."
Fredette will play in Utah tonight for the first time as a professional when the Kings visit the Jazz.
Fredette has had sections of fans at every arena the Kings have visited this season, but tonight's venue will be different.
It was at BYU in Provo, about an hour's drive from Salt Lake City, that Fredette became a national star and consensus collegiate Player of the Year as a senior.
By the end of Fredette's college career, going out to eat without calling ahead or just strolling through the mall weren't options because of his popularity.
Fredette, who will start again tonight for the injured Marcus Thornton, plans to keep his routine as normal as possible.
Except for immediate family, his fiancée and some of her family, Fredette won't be supplying all of his friends with tickets to the game, he said.
"Everyone's real excited, I know that," Fredette said. "It's going to be a great night. Hopefully, we come away with a win. That's what we're going down there for."
Not all will be routine as a large contingent of media is expected to be on hand at EnergySolutions Arena.
Fredette won't be made available for interviews after this morning's shootaround, but pregame media availability for him alone will begin 30 minutes earlier than usual and last 45 minutes. He'll also be made available after the game.
Fredette's pregame access will be outside the Kings' locker room to avoid having the media crowd the visitors' facility and make it difficult for his teammates to prepare for the game.
"He had a following coming from college, so all the players understand that," said Kings head coach Keith Smart. "I don't think they'll know the magnitude until they get into that arena (tonight) and see everything going on with the media."
Fredette's return to Utah comes as he's playing his best as a rookie. But it also comes as the Kings have lost three consecutive games in which they've allowed an average of 117 points.
Fredette is averaging 17.3 points, making 16-of-33 shots (48.5 percent) in his past three games. That includes 11-of-18 shooting on three-pointers (61.1 percent).
Fredette is averaging 8.5 points and shooting 36.3 percent from the field this season, 36.5 percent on three-pointers.
"I've been playing a little bit better, but we haven't been winning a whole lot of games lately," Fredette said. "So it's just about going out there and trying to feel comfortable in the team setting, and hopefully steal one on the road."
Smart said he won't say anything special to Fredette about returning to Utah, knowing he'll have plenty of people in his ear.
Smart said that when he visits his hometown of New Orleans, there's always many people who want his time, and managing that is key. "That's the most important thing when to tell people to go home," Smart said. "When to tell people, 'I've got to go eat and get my pregame rest so I can go get ready for the game.' "
Fredette admits that the fans he's heard on the road this season won't compare to those at tonight's game.
After all, more than 11,000 people attended Fredette's exhibition game in September, and many tonight will be pulling for him.
"I just hope he plays well, because that has to make you a little nervous," Thomas said. "To play in front of people like that, guys that really think you're the greatest ever. But he'll be ready. He's real calm and does good in those situations."