FORT WAYNE – This recent Linsanity – the countrys fascination with New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, who has become the NBA Horatio Alger story of 2012 – has not gone unnoticed by other dreamers, including some of the Mad Ants.
Before his rise to fame, Lin, whose last name has spawned wordplay by countless headline writers, had a brief moment in the NBA Development League, scoring 28 points for the Erie BayHawks in a victory in Portland, Maine.
If there is a king-sized poster child for hope, it is Lin, who led the Knicks to seven consecutive wins before the magic ended on Friday in a loss to New Orleans.
Its motivating, Ants point guard Travis Walton said of Lins overnight success. Its one of those great stories of not being known and step into a situation of being confident. If youve got confidence and given an opportunity, a lot of things can happen.
Walton has felt the national spotlight before. He was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a starting guard on the Michigan State team that reached the 2009 NCAA championship game.
A self-proclaimed basketball junkie, Walton said he has been following the Lin saga.
Everybodys been following it, Walton said. Its been a blessing to me. Whenever you see something like that happen, and the way hes been doing it, its incredible.
Another Ants guard has the same philosophy toward Lin and the inspiration he provides.
It shows you to keep believing and keep hope alive, said Devan Downey, a three-time all-SEC member. Youre talking about a guy who had been cut by two different teams. Basically he got this opportunity because of guys getting injured. Whoever knew that the answer to their problems was sitting at the end of their bench, but it only took the right opportunity for him to show that.
The kind of success Lin is having is the perfect incentive for everyone who laces up a sneaker, especially those in the D-League, said Ants assistant coach Christian Laettner, the former Duke All-American and 13-year NBA veteran.
Ive been following a little bit, Laettner said. Im fairly new to the D-League, so everything is new to me.
Im not surprised. He played for Tommy Amaker at Harvard whos a Duke guy. Tommy Amaker was there all four years I was at Duke, so I know Lin got some good coaching. You know hes a smart kid, so he can learn and pick things up and suck things in better than other people can. Its a great story. Its not surprising. Anyone can do it given the opportunity and if they continue to work and if theyre lucky to have some good coaching along the way.