But here’s where my fear comes in. What if Harvard doesn’t make it to the NCAA Tournament? Then what? We’re back to Square One. Well, that’s more a Jeremy thing than a Harvard thing. And as long as he’s at Harvard, Harvard takes precedence, so let’s just talk about it hypothetically. Unless Jeremy just utterly destroys the Ivy League the way Batman beats “criminals to a pulp with his bare hands”, no one’s gonna know. No one’s gonna care. And I don’t think JL is of the Batman mold — JL’s more of a facilitator. Not to mention, these Ivy opponents, they may not be athletic, but they’re incredibly smart. Like what 2004 Team Greece is to Team USA, they will eat you up on your weaknesses, especially if you have no shooters to kick out to. In the Ivy League, anybody can beat anybody else on any given night.
Well, that’s where I come in, no matter if I only have a handful of readers or under 50 Twitter followers. It is what it is. We’re at where we’re at and there ain’t no lookin’ back. I’m gonna do everything that I can to make sure JL gets noticed. You will soon see. Very soon.
And you really gotta trust me on this. I’ve been to three straight NBA Summer Leagues. For my friends and dreamleaguers at GSoM I’ve written scouting report after scouting report after scouting report. I’m usually correct. Okay, everyone got the thing about Marco Belinelli wrong, but I haven’t blogposted about it: something definitely affected him mentally and confidence-wise at the GSW (hmm, maybe he got hit by a Nellie?). I still think Marco will be good for the Raptors.
Incidentally, I watch way more adult men’s basketball than you. Ten hours per Sunday, every Sunday, for the past seven years. I know what wins basketball games. I’ll save it for a future blogpost, but there’s a significance to watching adult men play this game as opposed to youth or teenagers (e.g., AAU), just as there is when compared to watching the women’s game. The NBA only has adult men in its games, remember.
I said it earlier and I’ll say it again. Jeremy is a bonafide first-round draft pick. But he won’t be unless Harvard makes the NCAA tourney, which despite all the pessimism, I’m all for. In mid-June 2010, I’ll say he should’ve been. Why not the first round? Well, circumstances as explained above. And that eternal war between non-NCAA-affiliated power brokers and NCAA coaches. It really is like Democrats vs Republicans (respectively?). You are what you are and it’s just so really, really hard to reach across the table and, you know, give ‘em what they want. So anyways, barring the storybook ending (but ain’t it funny that JL’s pulled off the storybook ending already before?!), barring any jinxes I have caused with this here blogpost, if reality hits us stone-cold in the face, a mere eight months from now, Jeremy will have to work his way back up.
Who knows, maybe reverse discrimination will actually work in JL’s favor. Maybe GMs are actually smart and realize the incredible marketing potential that Jeremy has. Oh wait, the Asian-American population is a slippery group, aren’t we? Ah, nevermind. It’ll all revert to regular discrimination whereby the fact that he’s slanty-eyed and went to Harvard will discount any achievements that he made. People will have him pegged to go here and there, but not the NBA, not where he belongs.
No, he can’t be that good. Look, his game’s flawed. He can’t do X and he’ll never be able to do Y. In China, that’s where he should go. That’s where everyone will love him. Or Europe, he could make a fortune in Europe!
Don’t discount achievements such as being named as the only guard and twelfth out of twelve on ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla’s roster of Most Versatile Players (ESPN Insider subscription required, but GoCrimson has it reprinted with Jeremy listed at the top) where Fraschilla says
For a 12th man, I am saving a spot for this guy, even if he probably can’t guard Luke Harangody [6'8"] or Cole Aldrich [6'11"]. He’s a great story as the son of Taiwanese immigrants and one of the few Asian-American players in college basketball. More importantly, after a storybook high school career, he has quietly had a great career in the Ivy League and last season was in the top 10 in seven different statistical categories from the point guard position. His crowning moment last season was a 27-point, eight-assist, six-rebound performance in an 82-70 win over Boston College, three days after the Eagles had knocked off No. 1 North Carolina.
I must plug Peter Robert Casey (PRC), whom I follow on Twitter and, nary more than a week-and-a-half ago, was quite shocked to all of a sudden see JL’s name in the retweet of the Fraschilla article. Fifty thousand followers of PRC just saw Jeremy Lin’s name, sweet! PRC, I hope you keep checking back here on Poor Man’s Commish for updates on Jeremy.
And don’t discount the achievement that firmly and forever reinforced my final assessment of him. By the way, this is long overdue, but here are my notes from that non-conference game against BC. For that game, the BC website wasn’t streaming it, so I had to google the radio station carrying the audio and I caught the Boston College announcers reiterating the following accolades over and over again. Read carefully…
- “Who else?”
- “He’s so good”
- “the best player on the court”
- “just went right by Jackson”
- “so dominant”
- “they can’t guard him”
- “He’s terrific. What a player.”
- “on a sprained ankle!”
- “Step back, good! Spectacular basketball!”
- “best performance we’ve seen in a non-conference game in a long time”
- “tremendous shots, fadaway, off-dribble, shot-clock-beating”
- “Wow, has he been superb.”
- “Coming out party.”
- “gotta admire what he’s done”
I swear. Go ask BC for the tape of that game. You’ll hear all of the above and that’s just a sampling of what was said.
Did you catch me on the “read carefully” bit? Yes, Jeremy played that game on a badly sprained ankle. He wasn’t even gonna play. I couldn’t believe it when he texted me that. A close confidant of his mentioned that it might be better to sit the BC game out, save the ankle for conference play. Here I was, thinking that this would be that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, because BC had just knocked off #1 UNC with a thrilling performance by Tyrese Rice, who had outplayed Ty Lawson and who would be matched up mano-a-mano against Jeremy. I had only known Jeremy for half a year, so my words versus that of another confidant would probably not mean much, so I’m not sure that I pushed it that hard that he had to play this game. I just kind of hoped. Thankfully, he did. That’s the thing with him. Just when you think he’s gonna make the wrong decision, somehow it all comes out okay. I hope I didn’t just jinx that.
Man, finally seeing my notes above in print after many months of it on the back of an envelope, hastily written in ugly cursive while I was on my headphones connected to the Internet audio stream, thinking, “Dang, I should write some of this down.” The above tells me that I’m not crazy. I’m not just 110% emotionally sucked into believing in Jeremy because we are of the exact same race. There’s living proof out there. You just gotta know where to look. You just gotta know that when you see him amongst inferior surroundings, that’s not when you should be watching. But I’ll be watching anyways, that’s for sure.
At that moment back in January, the day after which I posted to the Dream League Asian-American basketball league site (sorry, no link, our league website needs an overhaul) and declared January 7th “Jeremy Lin Day”, I realized that Jeremy played better when the players around him were better.
That’s the secret sauce with him. He rises up. But then again, it wasn’t so secret, right? He did it in the state championship game for Paly. I’ve been around a lot of great players in terms of amateurs and even at our amateur tournament level, certain players have that je ne sais quoi. The ability to manufacture a win. Jeremy’s got that God-given gift. You can’t teach that.
In terms of playing better against better competition, well, it doesn’t get any better than in the NBA. And you know what, I’ve seen in person when the players around him are better, he’s better. But what’s the first rule of Fight Club? You do not talk about Fight Club. I’ll talk about it when the time is right. Yeah, I know, I’m being contradictory but it will all make sense by the time June 2010 hits.
Alright, so I’ve set the table with quite a ramble, haven’t I? But I got your attention on Jeremy Lin, and I still haven’t even talked about his game, his uncanny defensive instincts, what he brings to the table. More to follow, and I hope to make it more bite-sized than this dramatic lay-down of the guantlet. Thank you for reading. The greater Chinese- and Asian-American population thanks you. Well, actually, they’ll thank you in the future. They don’t know to thank you just yet. ;o)
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- The legend of Jeremy Lin (Part 1/2)
- JL4 does it again. Jeremy Lin: “Lin Legend”. Now will you believe me?
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- David vs Goliath III: Jeremy Lin at Georgetown
- It’s all on Portsmouth for Jeremy Lin, but…
- The legend of Jeremy Lin (full)
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