Oh, what could have been, if we had just held onto him!
While the basketball team quickly falling back to earth, so soon after a hot start had many among us dreaming of once again watching the Cardinal in the Big Dance, it has been hard to escape the incredible story of a young man (who will remain nameless for most of this column) who played his high school ball just across the street at Palo Alto High School.
His team won a state title, and he was named the state player of the year by several associations. A boy with a 4.2 GPA in high school, he seemed like the perfect candidate for Stanford, particularly given the transition from Paly to the Farm, which is literally just a few hundred yards, wouldn’t be too difficult.
But the Cardinal’s then-coach Trent Johnson dropped the ball almost as badly as Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson, not offering a scholarship to the 6-foot-3 point guard who averaged 15 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals per game his senior season on a team that was 32-1.
The problem was that then-Stanford coach Trent Johnson reportedly “[messed] this thing up bad, really bad,” according to Paly coach Peter Diepenbrock.
Johnson supposedly did not offer him a scholarship because he had only one more offer left and was already set to let one of two-highly recruited players, Landry Fields or Da’Veed Dildy, take the slot.
The local kid took off for Harvard, and the rest, as they say, is history. But the addition of the exact thing that Stanford men’s basketball has been missing over the past four years, an outstanding pure point guard, could well have bridged the gap between the Lopez brothers and Fields and the current solid sophomore class.
Instead, the Cardinal has been an afterthought on the nation’s college basketball radar, not making the NCAA Tournament–or even the NIT–since 2008.
Oh, what might have been, if we had just held onto Jeremy…
There once was a young boy named Jeremy, he went to Paly just across the street;
In high school he was a man among boys, with good hands, strong will and quick feet.
As young Jeremy got older and bigger, his play began to make people talk:
“That boy has got quite a bright future; to him all the colleges will flock.”
But though Paly won a state title, poor Jeremy could not catch a break;
No schools offered him scholarships, they saw flaws that he just couldn’t shake.
With no chances for him on the West Coast, Jeremy took his game to the East;
At Harvard he found himself wanted, and in Ammaker’s style at peace.
In Beantown, Jeremy found a fast rhythm, pushing the ball up the court and down;
The Ivy League could not contain him: not Penn, not Princeton and not Brown.
And soon little Jeremy became big, scoring often and against anyone,
But the scouts still said, “No way! In the League, you won’t even score one.”
So Jeremy went back to the drawing board, his NBA dreams un-obscured,
Until at last the Warriors came calling, his place on a team now assured.
The story almost stopped there, in Oakland’s not-so-bright lights,
But there was more to be written (and more to be smitten); his name was primed for new heights.
But little Jeremy as many once knew him, isn’t that same Jeremy anymore;
He got a chance with the Knicks, plus some flashy new kicks, and moved off his brother’s living room floor.
All the points, the assists, the great highlights, we watch on the edge of our seats,
As Jeremy plays like a reckless tiger, and we cheer his many great feats.
In 100 years things might be quite different, and the world might dissolve into sin;
But one thing will be shared forever: the ballad of great Jeremy Lin.
Despite his love for Jeremy Lin, Miles Bennett-Smith will never, ever leave Tim Tebow’s strong embrace. Request to hear Miles’ epic poem about Timothy Richard at milesbs “at” stanford.edu or on Twitter “at” smilesbsmith.