Jeremy Lin was one of the premier seniors in the NCAA this past season. He has been featured in numerous major publications including Time magazine and Sports Illustrated despite playing in the academically focused conference. He has been an athlete of interest for the Asian American basketball enthusiasts who are eager to see a contemporary succeed at the highest level of basketball.
Lin was a finalist for the John Wooden Award and led the Harvard Crimson to a record number of wins. He now is like most graduating seniors trying to impress his employers. His potential employers happen to be NBA teams. Eric Guilleminault of HoopsDaily.com had a chance to speak with him recently during his down time between workouts.
NBADraft.net: Jeremy you had some great performances this season at Harvard which game(s) standout in your mind?
Jeremy Lin: I had great performances in the wins against William & Mary and Boston College; as well as against Michigan and Connecticut, but my best overall game was probably my sophomore year against Mercer when I nearly had a triple double.
NBADraft.net: The Ivy League was a particularly competitive league, given that you led Harvard to a record 20 win season and were unable to get an automatic bid do you feel that you should have gotten more consideration in being part of the field of 65?
Jeremy Lin: I do think that we could have gotten more consideration but then again we were blown out in the first round of the CIT tournament (93-71 loss to Appalachian State) so it’s tough to say.
NBADraft.net: Do you feel with the new expansion that a team like Harvard has a better shot?
Jeremy Lin: It would be nice for a team such as our selves get consideration next year, in particular with thre success Cornell had in the NCAA tournament.
NBADraft.net: Last we saw you were participating at Portsmouth, tell us how that experience went?
Jeremy Lin: The Portsmouth Invitational was really valuable to me. It gave me a chance to go back to the point guard position and allowed me to run a team. A lot of scouts did not have the chance to watch me play live at Harvard and we also had very few games that were televised so this gave me a chance to showcase my skills to them.
NBADraft.net: Since Portsmouth what have you been up to?
Jeremy Lin: I have been working out with Impact in Las Vegas and in San Antonio where my agent is based working out with some of his other clients including Sonny Weems.
NBADraft.net: What NBA workouts have you participated in and or will you be participating in next?
Jeremy Lin: I have worked out with the Thunder, Lakers, Knicks, Grizzlies, Spurs, and a few others before the draft. I have worked out primarily against shorter and supposedly faster players in these workouts.
NBADraft.net: How do you feel you performed in those workouts?
Jeremy Lin: I feel I performed well in all of them. I think my top two workouts were the Grizzlies and Thunder (given the fact I came straight off a red-eye flight).
NBADraft.net: When working in these NBA workouts what position have you played?
Jeremy Lin: I have been working out as a point guard.
NBADraft.net: Do you see yourself as a combo guard similar to a Jordan Crawford?
Jeremy Lin: I see myself more as a Goran Dragic type of point guard. We both love attacking the rim, effectively using the pick and roll and playing with high basketball IQ, although neither of us are freak athletes. as he does. Because I also played some 2 guard in college, I have the abilty to play that position well.
NBADraft.net: What areas of your game have you developed the most since your last game at Harvard?
Jeremy Lin: I have improved my defense and getting to play against quicker players than in the Ivy League. I have been working on my handles and developing a consistent jumper out to the NBA 3 point range.
NBADraft.net: What areas of your game do you feel you need to work on the most?
Jeremy Lin: I have been working on tightening up my handles, being more consistent with my 3 point shot, I want it to become one of my strengths in my game.
NBADraft.net: You’ve played the role of underdog with success before winning a California state title for Palo Alto, winning a school record amount of games for Harvard. Were you overlooked in the recruiting process?
Jeremy Lin: Yes I feel I was. If I had even gotten one scholarship offer from a local team (he is a Bay Area native) I would have jumped on it. But I understand why I was not highly recruited, at the time I was 6 foot 1, 170lbs and I have grown and developed since.
NBADraft.net: What is the greatest advantage of playing in the Ivy league for an aspiring NBA player such as yourself?
Jeremy Lin: The high IQ of players forces you to always have to have good footwork. You really have to pay attention to back door cuts and double screens on defense. And for me personally it’s a slower paced game. It forced me to adjust to the slower tempo game and sets and now I feel both comfortable with the running style offense and the half court sets.
NBADraft.net: Who is the toughest player you have ever had to guard?
Jeremy Lin: Kevin Durant in AAU.
NBADraft.net: Who was the player you tried to mimic the most growing up?
Jeremy Lin: I was a big Michael Jordan fan growing up. I don’t feel my game resembles his though.
NBADraft.net: As an Asian American of Chinese decent do you speak Mandarin or Cantonese?
Jeremy Lin: I speak Mandarin and can read and write a little. I took a few classes at Harvard to get better in my reading and writing skills.
NBADraft.net: Is that something that could give you an advantage to make an NBA team, being the first Asian American to make the league?
Jeremy Lin: Not sure if that will benefit me or hurt me, but I know I have the skills and am ready to playin the NBA regardless of my ethnicity.
NBADraft.net: You have become an inspiration for the Asian-American community, how do you feel about that?
Jeremy Lin: I’m very humbled and honored. I’m very thankful to the Asian-American Community for all their support!
NBADraft.net: And is there an extra sense of pressure to succeed because of that?
Jeremy Lin: No, I’m not playing for other people; if I start thinking in those terms I would put too much pressure on myself. I play basketball because that is what I love to do.
NBADraft.net: If you couldn’t play basketball what would be your profession?
Jeremy Lin: I would be a pastor. It is something I think about doing when my playing days are over.
NBADraft.net: Anything you would like to add?
Jeremy Lin: I would like to thank NBADraft.net and your viewers for all the support.