When the grandparents are happy, everyone is happy. Just ask CJ Fredrick’s grandma.
“She’s super excited, [I’m] a little closer to home a little bit,” Fredrick said about his grandma on Saturday. “My grandpa would have been really proud of this, to play on this team. He passed away a little bit ago. He was someone who was really special to me. I’ll be carrying him with me through this journey.”
Fredrick’s journey just started, too. After three years with the Iowa Hawkeyes–the final two of which he played following a redshirt season as a freshman–where he shined as a sharpshooting two-way guard, the new member of the Kentucky Wildcats is excited to return back to his roots in the Bluegrass State.
As many fans know by now, Fredrick was a superstar during his high school days at Covington Catholic in the northern area of Kentucky. Although he technically hails from right across the river in Cincinnati, OH, Fredrick powered Cov Cath to a State Championship in 2018 that saw him earn Gatorade Player of the Year honors in the process. Three years later, he’ll get to regularly play in the same Rupp Arena gym that he once scored 111 points across a four-game stretch in back when he was a senior in high school.
Simply being back in the town he had so much success in has Fredrick excited about his decision to transfer from Iowa to Kentucky.
“Just being here, being back home, it brings back really good memories,” Fredrick said during Kentucky’s camp at Covington Catholic. “Seeing some of the kids that I actually worked with at a camp at (Covington Catholic), it’s really cool seeing them. I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help these kids be the best player they can be. But to answer your question it’s a lot of fun to be back especially seeing my family here, seeing all my old coaches here. So now that I’m closer hopefully I can get here a lot more.”
Even though he’s officially been a Wildcat for over a month now, the reality of the situation didn’t truly set in until this past weekend.
“It didn’t really hit me when I committed that I could just hop in the car and drive an hour and 15, an hour and a half and I could be home and see my family,” Fredrick added. “It kind of hit me today, we came up and went to Saint (Elizabeth’s Hospital), met some of the nurses that were first hand COVID patients. Just driving up with the guys, bonding with them, seeing all of them here interacting with the kids, that’s when it really hit me that this was real, that I was going to be closer to home.”
Fredrick’s parents, Chuck and Laura Fredrick, along with his uncle Joe, were in attendance during Saturday’s camp, as well. But as he said, he’s been able to reconnect with old coaches and members of the community, too. It’s been an all-around nostalgic experience early on.
“It feels good to be back,” Fredrick said. “I saw a lot of my old coaches, my grandma’s out here, my parents are out here, my uncle’s out here. It’s just good to be back to a place that’s home for me, interacting with the kids. They’re having a great time, and that’s what it’s all about, just being here and back at the school, that was great for me. It’s really good to be back.”