The Jeremy Lin buzz is loud, global and crosses well beyond sports. But his effect might be felt greatest in prep circles, starting around the San Francisco Bay Area, where he grew up.
Local high school coaches and players are throwing out their respective chests, taking pride in that the 2006 Palo Alto (Calif.)
graduate is ripping off big numbers for the resurgent New York Knicks.
More so, they seem to be taking special satisfaction in all his intangibles - his unyielding determination, impassioned team approach and humble nature. His crossover dribble past ethnic lines doesn't hurt either.
"For the past two weeks almost all of the talk among our players has been about Lin, and they've done so with a smile on their face," Lincoln (San Francisco)
coach Matt Jackson said. "Especially the Asians kids."
Seven of Lincoln's 14 players are Asian Americans, Jackson said, including his top star Chris Young
, a three-year starter who averages 16 points per game.
"Just being Asian, you're always looked at as the underdog," Young said. "It's always like ‘Oh, he's Asian. He can't play basketball.' Just knowing that Jeremy Lin's done it already, I realize it's not impossible."
Gratifying to basketball coaches is Lin's approach, making teammates better, sharing the ball and the glory. Wherever he's gone, Lin has won, including a 63-3 record his last two seasons at Palo Alto that included a state title.
Frank Allocco has won 88 percent of his games (576-79) as coach at Northgate (Walnut Creek)
and De La Salle (Concord)
, including three state titles. The New Jersey native has won largely without Division I-recruited players, ones who share Lin's basketball IQ and passion.
"(Lin) is a great example of what we should be teaching," Allocco said. "So much of basketball is about intangibles, playing as a team, selflessly with great energy. I think we've won a lot of our games with this throwback style. … I think that's a lot of what Jeremy is about and perhaps with the spotlight on him and Tim Tebo the pendulum has shifted."
There are signs throughout the region - and certainly far beyond, - that Lin's style is spreading. And not just from marginally talented athletes.
The Bay Area's top talent, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)
6-foot-7 do-everything star Aaron Gordon
, is a ball of energy and complete team player even with gaudy numbers of 26.8 points, 14.1 rebounds, 3.2 blocks per game.
Rated the No. 6 junior in the nation by MaxPreps.com, Gordon deflected all the attention to teammates
after a 50-47 win over Sacred Heart Cathedral
Saturday, even though he had 24 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks.
He noted a sheer hustle play from Neil Vranicar
, two clutch free throws by Jordan White
and three huge second-half buckets from Connor Peterson
He sounded much like Lin during the Knicks' win streak.
"All Aaron wants to do is win and one way or another he'll find a way," Mitty coach Tim Kennedy said. "The energy he brings to the court every night is unmatched."Archbishop Mitty
girls coach Sue Phillips said the same about her star Kelli Hayes
, one of the nation's top sophomores. Phillips said she's a cross between Mitty greats Danielle Robinson and Kerri Walsh in terms of talent and attitude. Robinson went on to be an All-American at Oklahoma and Walsh was a two-time beach volleyball gold medalist in the Olympics.
"She wants to be the very best and she displays in everything she does, off and on the court," Phillips said.
Allocco has seen the same in his own
, a 5-foot-11 point guard, who has transformed from a defensive stopper into a lights-out shooter and scorer and Division I prospect.
"He made changes as a human being first and now he's one of the greatest point guards we've ever had and just a wonderful young man," Allocco said.
It's not a coincidence that both Mitty teams are ranked among the top 50 nationally and is each very much in the mix for a state championship, as is De La Salle. The three teams have combined for a record of 69-10. Gordon led Mitty to a state championship last year and very well could lead the Monarchs to three straight crowns.
"Doing the right things and stressing team and family and all the intangibles ultimately is more important than winning basketball games," Allocco said. "But if you can accomplish both, all the better."