Let’s say you’ve done everything right during the recruiting process: started early, went to camps, excelled on the field and in the classroom, made a great highlight tape, and even became an expert at communicating with coaches by phone and through email. And still nobody wants you? What next?
Does this story sound familiar? It’s the story of Jeremy Lin and a host of other athletes. Lin, who is currently setting records and turning heads as the starting point guard for the formerly forlorn New York Knicks, had doubts when things didn’t happen exactly the way he wanted them to, but he never gave up and he made his own path.
He Even Won a State Championship
The facts: Lin played at Palo Alto High School right across the street from Stanford. He led his team to the state championship his senior year of high school, averaging 15.1 points, 7.1 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 5.0 steals. He had a 4.2 GPA. Seems like a dream come true, right?
You would think so, but Lin didn’t have one D-1A scholarship offer and ended up walking on at Harvard, where he became team MVP and once scored 30 points against future lottery pick Kemba Walker.
Lin had decent numbers in high school, but didn’t have eye-popping athleticism, one of the first things college coaches notice. What he did have was a plethora of intangibles: he made his teammates better, had a quick-first step, and an infectious, never-say-die attitude. These qualities, as Lin admits himself, can’t always be appreciated with just one viewing–to truly appreciate Lin is to watch him play more than once.
Not an Exact Science
Recruiting is not an exact science, especially in basketball. Coaches often evaluate players by comparing them to well-known players who have similar physical attributes and a similar game. A coach with a little imagination might have watched Lin and said he’s a bigger version of Steve Nash. Do you think that would have got him recruited?
If you can identify with the Jeremy Lin story and find yourself being under-recruited all you can do is keep doing all the right things. You may have to walk-on and play yourself into a scholarship. Perhaps Jeremy Lin–no scholarship offers from D-1A schools and now a starter in the NBA–can inspire you to keep trying.