Jeremy Lin is only the 3d player from Harvard to play in the NBA.
He was a terrific player not only at Harvard, but in the Ivies. He established a line of records unmatched in Ivy League history, and along the way, the Harvard basketball team, which had never amounted to a bucket of warm spit until Lin and Coach Amaker arrived, found its way to the Ivy League title and the NCAA tournament.
My sons and I watched these guys, led by Lin, play a ferocious contest in the Palestra against their arch-rivals Penn in 2010, which was a double overtime contest, and as Harvard finally won, largely due to the intensity and refusal to lose of Lin, who kept penetrating, dishing off, shooting jumpers, and doing whatever it took to win, it seemed like a passing of the guard.
So it’s no secret why Lin is the 2d best player on the knicks in win shares per 48 minutes at .187 after Tyson Chandler’s .248; or why his PER approaching 25 leads the team. Lin plays defense, doesn’t turnover the ball, and is efficient both on offense and defense. Also, he hustles. In the Ivy League, he led across a large number of categories, including points, steals, rebounds, assists, assist to turnover ration, etc. and established benchmarks for a guard across many such categories–in fact, all time records for a guard to have such all-around abilities.
What we saw, watching him two years ago, was a guy who refused to lose. He could penetrate and score; penetrate and dish out to the three line; penetrate and dish to the man beside him after drawing the double-team; penetrate and dish to the open man; had amazing peripheral vision; could drop the three or the jumper if left unattended; always could run the ball and locate the open man on the run; could play defense; could steal the ball; could rebound and start the break the other way; in short, he was a complete player.
And Lin never stopped to breath. He was always in continuous motion. Harvard had a lot of talented players, but they looked kind of confused unless Lin got them the ball and he was coordinating the offense. He was, in short, a terrific and talented point guard who had game.
A lot of Penn players have played in the NBA, but not so much Harvard. Hockey has always been the winter sport at Harvard, along with playing the stock market and inventing new financial instruments the SEC can’t regulate.
Three players including Lin played in the NBA:
who was a 5 foot 11 inch player on the 1947-48 Boston Celtics. The Celtics were in a predecessor league to the NBA, but who cares?
Here were Saul Mariaschin’s teammates on the Boston Celtics of 1947-48:
Here’s another of his teammates from that legendary Celts team:
CHUCK CONNORS. Yes, the guy who later played the RIFLEMAN on TV. Lucas McCain himself. And a 6’5″ grad of Seton Hall, which in 1947-48 would have made him a giant player. And he was a CELTIC. You can look it up.
Chuck Connors also played baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers!
And he was a TV Star!
The second player that went to Harvard and played in the NBA was
Edward Bernard Smith (Ed)
Ed Smith was a New York Knick in 1953-54. On that Knicks team, Ed played with Vince “Moose” Boryla, Nate “Sweetwater” Clifton, Al McGuire and Dick McGuire, and the famous Ernie Vandeweghe, and others well-noted.
That 1953-54 Knicks team finished 1st in the Eastern Division, going 44-28 under the helm of the legendary Joe Lapchick. And they played in the old Madison Square Garden, which many hold in as high esteem as the old Boston Garden.
and here’s ernie vandewege v bob cousy:
Of course, Ernie has some bloodlines. Kiki Vanderweghe was a great NBA player, and now his granddaughter is a professional tennis player: