Jeremy Lin: What If Knicks' Sensation Hadn't Gone to Harvard?

Craig ForrestalContributor IIIFebruary 18, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 15:  Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks shoots against the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden on February 15, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Jeremy Lin went from sleeping on his brother's couch to participating in the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities.  Everybody has heard something about Lin in the last week.  The undrafted point guard from Harvard has a story that is tough to rival.

An underdog story like no other.

A story that shows how strong a person can be no matter the odds.

Lin went undrafted in the 2010 NBA draft. He played for the Dallas Mavericks that summer and had the crowd on his side during a game against the Wizards and John Wall.  Dennis Scott, former Orlando Magic three-point specialist in the '90s, was on the call and made the observation that Lin would be a fan favorite.

After summer league Lin signed with Golden State and got cut. Then he went to Houston, but was cut in order for the Rockets to sign Samuel Dalembert. Yes, that Samuel Dalembert from Seton Hall.

From Houston Lin found his way to New York, but not before being assigned to the Erie Bay Hawks of the D-League where he racked up a triple-double in his only game, a win over the Maine Red Claws.

The Knicks brought him back and thought about cutting him. He got a break against the New Jersey Nets and created a SportsCenter dream with 28 points and 8 assists. The Knicks won.

Then it happened again. The Knicks beat the Wizards, and Lin recorded a double-double.

Knicks took that momentum to a game against the Lakers in The Garden on ESPN. Lin dazzled and amazed and did something not many people can claim they did: outscore Kobe Bryant, 38 to 34. The Knicks win again. Linsanity is upon us.

But Linsanity existed along time ago. Linsanity existed when Lin was a high school student in California.

Lin was the Northern California player of the year. He was a first team All-State pick. He was a top-notch player in a land full of top-notch high school basketball players.

Lin sent film to bigger schools, but was only offered a chance to walk on. The Ivy Leagues were a little more receptive of his game, as a 'guaranteed spot' was extended to Lin by more than one school. Lin eventually settled on Harvard. 

Lin had a stellar career at Harvard and after a game against the UConn Huskies, Jim Calhoun, UConn Head Coach, had this to say:"He's one of the better kids, including Big East guards, who have come in here in quite some time ... I can't think of a team he wouldn't play for."

If Jim Calhoun says you can play, then that solidifies you in my eyes as a basketball player. Calhoun has coached a lot of good players in his time as a coach and has been around Big East basketball for a good while. Calhoun also has more than 600 career wins.

My question is this: How did Jeremy Lin not get a scholarship?

I ask this question to the University of Oregon, Long Beach State, Gonzaga, Utah State, Idaho, Boise State, Washington State, Colorado, Fresno State, and all other West Coast colleges and universities. How do those schools not recruit Jeremy Lin?

College coaches are always looking for talent, in any way, shape or form that it comes. How did Lin fall through the cracks? How did the scouting and recruiting services not find this kid? He was amongst the best in California.

When the All-State teams are announced, the recruiting analysts get to dissecting film on the kid to see if he is top-100 worthy. How could Lin not get dissected like countless other athletes are?  And to boot, these websites post the All-State teams on their websites.

It makes you wonder how different the story would be if Lin had gone to Southern Cal or Arizona State or San Diego State. Would playing at a high-major school have impacted his draft position? Would Lin still have gotten cut a few times before he landed and made an impact on an NBA roster? 

After seeing what Lin has done with the Knicks and doing my own research into Lin, it astonishes me that no Division I program had a basketball scholarship for Jeremy Lin. I don't know how this story, as far as Linsanity is concerned, would have turned out if he'd gone to a scholarship program.

I know athletes go under the radar when it comes to recruiting—Steph Curry being the prime example—but Lin totally fell through the cracks.

When I was a kid, my dad used to always tell me, "If you're good and you can play, don't worry about it—you will get noticed by people, and programs will find you."

But if that's true, how come nobody found Jeremy Lin before now?