Megan Soisson | For now, Linsanity continues
February 24, 2012, 1:02 am·
Pete Lodato | DP
It’s about time we caught Jeremy Lin fever.
We put it off as long as we could, but the man is impossible to ignore. His statistics in his first several games are on pace with that of a young Magic Johnson. Media outlets argue over who came up with the best ‘Lin’ pun or who started the trend (this organization is no exception). He has become a household name and a symbol of Ivy League athletic success.
I’m still a bit skeptical — those turnovers are certainly a smudge on his record — but, here we are. Writing about Jeremy Lin, the Taiwanese-American from Palo Alto, Calif., who is playing in the NBA via the Harvard Crimson. It’s Linsane.
He’s a jack-of-all-trades (won’t even attempt a ‘Lin’ pun there), both on and off the court. He has an economics degree, is an amateur Harvard admissions advisor (YouTube it) and is the first Ivy Leaguer to score 1,450 points, grab 450 rebounds, contribute 400 assists and record 200 steals in a career.
Not too shabby.
To be perfectly honest, though, I’m still not convinced. Maybe I’m focused on the turnovers or his 1-for-11 shooting Thursday night against the Heat, but I could only write this column knowing that Penn takes on the Crimson this Saturday in Lin’s former gym. This time around, when the two teams face off, Lin won’t be in Lavietes Pavilion to catch all the action courtside like he did last March (unless he takes a surprise trip up north — the Knicks don’t play again until Wednesday at home).
The national news outlets focus on Lin’s NBA play and the fact that he went to Harvard. What isn’t often heard, on the other hand, is how Lin was as a player for the Crimson.
Penn senior Rob Belcore played against Lin for two years in the Ancient Eight, and he spoke with The Daily Pennsylvanian earlier this week about his style.
“Honestly I thought I matched up pretty well with him,” Belcore said before practice Wednesday. “I could still guard him.”
Belcore, who has transitioned into playing forward more than his usual guard position this season, could use his size advantage over Lin when they met on the court.
“[Lin] does a really good job using his body to create contact and create space for himself on pull-backs,” he said. “I’m a bigger guard so that was another advantage for me.”
It seems as if Lin is doing nothing different than he did against Ivy League opponents, and NBA superstars may be catching on.
“His strength is straight line drive,” Belcore said. “If he changes direction, he’s not really shifty.”
Whether or not Belcore and the original Big Three of the Miami Heat have figured him out or not, Lin played an important role in bringing the Harvard basketball program to where it is today.
He was part of the Crimson’s key transition to coach Tommy Amaker, and though he never saw an Ivy championship or a chance to play for an NCAA Tournament spot, he was integral in the team’s rise to the top of the Ivy League.
Harvard’s games this weekend, against both Princeton on Friday and Penn Saturday, could finally change the fate of Crimson hoops history. The Linsanity surrounding the program is completely unprecedented.
We’ll see if it continues.
MEGAN SOISSON is a junior health and societies major from Mechanicsburg, Pa., and is Senior Sports Editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. Her email address is soisson@theDP.com.