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Lin Aims To Boost Draft Chances

By Dennis J. Zheng, Crimson Staff Writer

Consider it a road trip well spent for men’s basketball co-captain Jeremy Lin, who traveled last Wednesday to Portsmouth, Va. to take part in the Portsmouth Invitational, a four-day tournament that allows college seniors the opportunity to improve their professional prospects in front of scouts from around the world.

Playing point guard for the Tidewater Sealants, Lin averaged 10 points and six assists over three games—fourth-best out of the 64 players in attendance. The two-time first-team All-Ivy star was also third in steals to go along with an average of 1.7 rebounds per game.

Lin’s solid showing amidst the likes of Cal’s Jerome Randle and Alabama’s Mikhail Torrance earned him plenty of praise from professional evaluators.

“He’s a guy that I think intrigued a lot of scouts,” said NBA Assistant Director of Scouting Ryan Blake. “He wasn’t the top scorer, wasn’t the top assists leader, but he did all the right things, and I think that’s a plus, especially when you get into an environment like that.”

“I talked to the players before the tournament and said this to all of them, ‘Listen, these teams know you can score, they want to know if you can play basketball’—and I think he proved that this week,” Blake added.

“I thought he got better as the camp went on…it showed that he was able to make adjustments, which speaks to his feel for the game, which is obviously off the charts,” said Jonathan Givony, president of DraftExpress.com. “Probably the best thing he showed is that he’s just an exceptionally smart player, he’s got great court vision, he’s incredibly unselfish…I thought he had a very strong showing there, and I’m sure he helped himself.”

“I think he was one of the better pure point guards out there—not the best,” said Ryan Feldman, the co-founder of The Hoops Report. Feldman awarded Lin a 3rd-team all-tournament spot. “He was more under control than any of the other point guards…he acted like what you want to see out of a point guard.”

“He was impressive in that he didn’t try to do too much to impress everybody,” Feldman said. “He just tried to play his game…and show that he’s a good pure point guard, if that’s what somebody wants.”

Though pleased with how he handled the transition from scorer to the role of point guard, Lin wasn’t entirely satisfied with his overall performance.

“I was happy with some of the things that I did, but I definitely think there are areas for improvement,” Lin said. “I feel okay about it, not great…NBA three-point shooting, ball-handling, and defense—those are probably the three specific things [to work on].”

Next up on the agenda will be hiring an agent.

“I’ve narrowed it down to my final list, and I hope to make a final decision within a week or two,” Lin said.

After that will come the determination of a training location and participation in private workouts before the NBA Draft, which will be held June 24.

“I think he’ll be even more comfortable when he starts going into individual workouts, and when he gets to that, he’ll be able to show other things,” Blake said. “And then of course [he’ll] get an opportunity [to play in] a summer league, where he’s going to be able to play against even stronger players and show teams whether or not he can play.”

Though he impressed many at Portsmouth with his passing skills and ability to finish around the basket, the 6’3’’ Lin remains a long shot for the NBA at this point.

“I really like him, I think he has an opportunity, but we also had a lot of strong point guards in this tournament,” Blake said. “Could we see him in the NBA? Yes, absolutely I could see him in the NBA at some point…Will he get drafted? I don’t know…We have so many players that it’s such a fine line between making it and not making it.”

“For guys like him and 50 other players, there’s just a million different variables, circumstances that need to fall his way in terms of being put in the right situation,”  Givony said. “A lot of it has to do with luck…He passed one hurdle, and there’s still a couple more to go. He’s definitely in the picture as far as the NBA is concerned, but he’s not a lock at this point.”

Feldman was less optimistic about Lin’s professional prospects.

“He’s not going to make the NBA, unfortunately,” Feldman said. “He’ll probably get a shot in the summer league with somebody if he wants to, and after that he’ll go to team workouts…and you never know down the road.”

“Right now, he’s probably going to go play somewhere in Europe or Asia,” Feldman said.

—Staff writer Dennis J. Zheng can be reached at dzheng12@college.harvard.edu.

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