Before February 4, New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin had scored a total of 32 points. Since then, he has scored 246 points, in 10 games. “Linsanity” has overtaken the NBA in the last month.
Lin had a great senior season for Palo Alto High School in California. He captained the team and led them to a 32-1 record. They also upset the nationally ranked Mater Dei on their way to a state title. After that stellar year, Lin sent out his highlights to colleges all over the country. Only Brown and Harvard guaranteed him a spot on their basketball team. The others were Pac-10 schools, and they wanted him to be a walk-on rather than give him a scholarship. By his senior season at Harvard, he had already led Harvard in points and assists as a sophomore, junior and senior, and had 27 points and eight assists in an upset of 17th-ranked Boston College his junior year. After one game against Harvard, University of Connecticut Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun said of Lin: "I've seen a lot of teams come through here, and he could play for any of them. He's got great, great composure on the court. He knows how to play." Lin completed his career at Harvard with 1,483 points, 494 rebounds, 406 assists, and 225 steals.
Lin went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft. Eventually he was invited to play in the summer league by the Dallas Mavericks, where he played five games. He was offered contracts by the Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Lakers. He chose to accept the offer from the Warriors, who were his hometown team and his favorite team growing up.
After a subpar year, he was claimed off waivers by the Houston Rockets. He played two preseason games for the Rockets before being put on waivers to make room for a newly signed center. Then just before the New Year, Lin was claimed on waivers by the New York Knicks, who thought of him as a back-up to Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas. But his stint in the NBA didn’t last long. In mid-January he was assigned to Erie BayHawks of the D-League. Just a few days later he had a triple-double. The Knicks called him up soon after.
Since players on the Knicks were dropping like flies due to injuries, they considered releasing Lin to sign a new player. New York head coach Mike D’Antoni decided to give Lin a chance after a loss on February 3 to the Boston Celtics. I think you know what has happened since.
If Lin had been selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, he would have been the first Harvard player chosen there since Ed Smith in 1951. Lin has shown, unlike Smith who only played in 11 games in the NBA, that he can compete against the top players and teams in the league. Lin brings excitement to all NBA fans and even some opposing players, when he steps on the court. But he also brings another emotion to the table: regret. “We should have kept [Lin]. Did not know he was this good. Anyone who says they knew [is] misleading [you],” wrote Rockets general manager Daryl Morey on Twitter.