While a degree from Harvard gives you instant respect in the real world, playing ball for the school doesn’t have quite the same pull.
“Actually, we don’t even have a folder in our database for Harvard players,” admits one NBA Western Conference scout when asked about Lin’s pro prospects.
And with good reason. The Crimson are in the midst of a Chicago Cubs-esque, 62-year drought from the NCAA Tournament. Try to think of the last Harvard player in the NBA. If you were about to say Chris Dudley, you were close, but that was Yale. The last Crimson player to play in the League was Ed Smith in 1953.
But with Lin on the team, that could all change soon. Tommy Amaker, who took Seton Hall to the Sweet 16 in 2000, is entering his second season as the Crimson’s head coach. He knows he has a special player in Lin.
“Jeremy is a player who can play at any level of college basketball,” says Amaker, who has coached two All-American guards (Andre Barrett and Shaheen Holloway) at Seton Hall. “The youngsters that I’ve had a chance to coach, there is no one I would rank higher than Jeremy Lin.”
Lin’s success has also impacted a demographic that spans far beyond the confines of New England. “I’ll get encouraging e-mails from other Asian-Americans and they’re rooting for me,” says Lin. “It’s obviously very touching to see that other people are following what’s going on with the Harvard basketball team. I’m religious, so I believe everything that happens is from God. So I make sure I have a good work ethic everyday and I don’t take any days off.”
Several pro prospects websites have started to take notice of Lin.
“Jeremy Lin is an interesting player,” says Aran Smith, president of the NBA prospect website, NBAdraft.net. “He certainly has solid foot speed with the ability to get by players off the dribble and an excellent jump shot. Playing in the NBA might be too optimistic but I believe he can play professionally overseas.”
It’s still too early to speculate where Lin takes things from here. Maybe an NCAA Tournament berth. Maybe professional basketball, maybe not. Who knows? But at least one thing is certain. He’s not a volleyball player.
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