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Jeremy Lin: Pioneer in Disguise

(Jim McIsaac/Newsday/MCT)

(Jim McIsaac/Newsday/MCT)


By Eron Ramadanov
© NHS Greyhound

NEW YORK – At the start of the shortened season of 2012, the New York Knicks were picked by some to give the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat a problem in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks, being led by superstar forward Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, were surrounded by young players who have little playoff and NBA experience.

The Knicks, before Feb. 2, 2012, were 7-15, and looking like they were out of the playoffs and ready for another let down.

But as the Knicks were hit with the injury bug, Head Coach Mike D’Antoni had no choice but to play a second-year kid out of Harvard University.

At Harvard, Jeremy Lin was known as the “weakest player on the team” in his freshman year, said a Harvard coach who worked with Lin. But in his sophomore year at Harvard, he averaged 12.6 PPG (points per game), and was named on the All-Ivy second team.

In his junior season at Harvard, he boosted his average to 17.6 PPG, and 5.5 rebounds as a 6’2-6’3 shooting guard, along with 4.3 assists per game, which showed that he was a versatile guard who could play the one or the two. In that season, he was placed on the All-Ivy first team.

In his final season as a senior at Harvard, he continued his amazing play as once again he was placed on the All-Ivy first team. He was one of  30 candidates for the John R. Wooden Award and one of the 11 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award as well.

So with the resume of Jeremy Lin, how did we all miss on this “nerdy” kid from Harvard?

He graduated Harvard with a degree in Economics, and a 3.1 grade-point average.

After his amazing college career, one would expect that an NBA team would have him on their draft board or that many teams would look to draft young Mr. Lin. But that was not the case. He went undrafted, and was left looking for a team to invite him to camp. He would be given the lowest contract of them all.

At the start of the 2010 season, the Golden State Warriors signed him to a contract, and only played in 29 games in 2010. He averaged 2.6 PPG that season, and later that offseason, he was cut and looking for another team to give him a chance to play the game at which he seemed to excel at Harvard. The Dallas Mavericks signed him to the 2011 Summer Circuit team, which is a practice squad for players who need time to develop over the off-season. He was also cut by the Mavericks, and once again went looking for a team.

So, as the 2012 shortened NBA season began, the Knicks needed point guards. So they signed Jeremy Lin to a 10-day contract, which would turn into a full-year contract if he proved he deserved to be there. He did in the preseason and during practice.

So as the Knicks came off a tough loss to the Boston Celtics and fell to 7-15, outsting them from the playoff race, Jeremy Lin was given a chance the next night against the New Jersey Nets. He had the best game of his career, with 25 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and shot 10-19 from the field.

As people looked at the box score, most people saw  a “scrub” having a good night. And I was one of those people.

Two day later, against the Utah Jazz, he had another “good” night with 28 points, eight assists, and shot 10-17 from the field. And still people like me, wrote it off as nothing but luck.

Then, on Wednesday, Feb. 8, he racked up 23 points, 10 assists, and shot 9-14 from the field.

But the next game, against the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant, gave him his best one yet. He went head-to-head with Kobe Bryant and earned 38 pts, and seven assists, and outplayed Kobe – as very few can.

At this point, Linsanity was born. He was a worldwide role model who was changing the NBA as we know it, and people everywhere wondered if he could keep it up, and become the long term answer to the Knicks point guard woes.

He later followed with a game winner against the Toronto Raptors, and a clutch fourth quarter against the defending champion Dallas Mavericks.

But now, in mid-March, Linsanity has died down, and he is now just the point guard for the Knicks, which is still pretty big, but he is posting average numbers, and is not wowing anyone at this time. But he did something that is important to players coming into the NBA for years to come, and that is to never overlook any player, and to make sure that if someone deserves a chance, that you give it to him.

He has brought to light the fact that all of us don’t have the answer to everything, and you don’t need a stat to prove anything, and that NBA scouts and general managers don’t know everything about everyone. I feel like Lin has given the small town, smart kid hope that he, too, can go on to have a huge impact in the NBA, and that not everything turns out the way that experts expect.

Thank you, Jeremy Lin.

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