Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor to RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.
New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin is the talk of the entire sports world for his rise from the end of the bench to the leader of the New York Knicks, in a story that all fans have surely become familiar with by now. Lin is just the fourth Asian-American, and fourth player from Harvard, to ever play in the league, and he bounced around three different teams last offseason before even cracking the bottom of the New York roster. Now in the past week, he’s become the first player in history to record at least 20 points and seven assists in his first four NBA starts, all Knick victories. How did the ‘Linsanity’ phenomenon come out of nowhere? Based on his college career in the Ivy League, we’ll detail that he may not have been such a long shot after all.
Lin has certainly taken the road less traveled on his journey to the NBA, beginning with the fact that he didn’t receive a single athletic scholarship offer for college. At Palo Alto High School, the guard was part of a California state title team that played its games across the street from Stanford’s campus, yet he was only offered a spot to walk on for Trent Johnson’s Cardinal program. Instead, a choice to attend Harvard gave Lin an opportunity to pursue basketball with a great chance for playing time while also enjoying the benefits of an elite academic institution. Lin played just 18 minutes and averaged 4.1 points per game as a freshman, but like many mid-major players he became a major factor once he put on some weight to match his body with his feel for the game. His sophomore year saw Lin average 12.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game, and from there he became a recognized name (at least among mid-major watchers) on the national hoops radar.