HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Jeremy Lin‘s underdog story has been well documented recently, with the Knicks star rising from relative (or perhaps complete) obscurity to the first name on the minds of NBA fans everywhere in roughly one week of action.
But we’re here today to take the heat off of NBA scouts, coaches and executives who missed on Lin coming out of Harvard. All they did was continue a trend started by their college counterparts.
The story of Lin’s college recruitment illustrates how talent evaluators overlooked his ability even when Lin was young. It is something that was repeated in the professional ranks as he moved from Golden State to Houston to New York, where he has infected Knicks fans with Linsanity, becoming a sensation over five transcendent games.
… All of that would have been hard for some college coaches to have predicted while watching film of Lin as a skinny, average-shooting guard at Palo Alto High School, even though he was a standout for the modest program, leading it to a 32-1 record and an upset of the powerhouse Mater Dei in the 2006 California Division II championship game.
“He was a good student, a good player and, yeah, it’s amazing what he was doing,” said Steve Donahue, now the coach at Boston College, said in a recent telephone interview. “But he didn’t look that athletic and he didn’t shoot it all that well. Even after his freshman year at Harvard, you didn’t give it a second thought that we made a mistake.”
Now we’re not suggesting that Lin’s surprising rise is cause for a complete restructuring of the scouting process. It’s going to take more than one stunner to do that.
But it should be a lesson to college recruiters and NBA scouts alike, to trust more than the measurables when evaluating talent. If nothing else, Lin will make them pause the next time they see a guy that doesn’t fit the mold.