Money. Game-winner. Bedlam.
It was Nov. 15, 2009, and Lin's buzzer-beater in triple-overtime lifted Harvard over William and Mary, 87-85 — check out the video on YouTube for verification.
En route home, Tribe coach Tony Shaver called his former suitemate at North Carolina, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, to rave about Lin, then a senior.
Understand that two days earlier William and Mary had opened the season against one of the nation's most acclaimed backcourts: Connecticut's Kemba Walker and Jerome Dyson. All Walker and Dyson had done was combine for 39 points, 10 assists and six steals in the Huskies' 75-66 victory.
"They were terrific, but I honestly thought Jeremy Lin was better, and I called Mitch," Shaver said Wednesday. "He was 6-3, he was extremely athletic, which most people didn't believe. He played the ball screen as well as anybody I've ever seen — using the ball screen to score.
"I can't say I thought he was going to go Lin-crazy like he is right now, but I thought he was definitely a guy who should get an NBA look, I really did."
Kupchak and the Lakers passed on Lin. As did every other NBA team, even after Lin auditioned at the annual Portsmouth Invitational pre-draft tournament at Churchland High.
Now this engaging young man of Asian-American heritage is, literally, a global sensation. Pressed into the starting lineup by desperation (fate?), this free agent signee has single-handedly revived the moribund New York Knicks and given every underdog in every avenue of life a role model.
Lin averaged 26.8 points in his first six starts, all Knicks wins, the most productive debut since the 1976 NBA-ABA merger. He torched Kupchak's Lakers for 38 points and seven assists at Madison Square Garden, and Tuesday night his last-second three gave New York a 90-87 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
"I have not watched his games," Shaver said, "but I certainly have checked SportsCenter every morning and followed him in the paper. Can't say that I'm smart enough to figure out he would be able to do all these things. Mitch and I have exchanged some fun words (since)."
Shaver coached against Lin and Harvard twice.
On New Year's Eve 2008, the Tribe defeated the Crimson 67-54 in Williamsburg. Lin had nine points, six assists, three rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals. But he made only 3-of-12 shots.
In the rematch at Harvard, Lin had team-highs of 19 points and nine assists. But again, he didn't shoot well: 4-of-13. He missed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation and a jumper at the end of the first overtime.
"That's the one thing I told Mitch: I'm not sure he's a good enough shooter," Shaver said. "A lot of times a 6-3 guard has to be a phenomenal shooter. That was my only hesitation. … I think he still hasn't proven that (in the NBA). When people start defending him in different ways ...
"We played him pretty much straight up. He was so effective on the ball screen, getting people shots, that we did start to trap the ball screens a little bit just to take the ball out of his hands. Make somebody else make plays."
(Lin's game-winner was hardly the worst dagger in Shaver's coaching career. His 1999 Hampden-Sydney team lost the Division III national championship game in double-overtime to Bo Ryan-coached Wisconsin Platteville after Platteville's center made his first 3-pointer of the season to force OT.)
That 2009-10 William and Mary team was among the best in program history. After the Harvard loss, the Tribe won its next 10, with Richmond, VCU, Wake Forest, Maryland and Hofstra among the conquests.
Led by David Schneider, Quinn McDowell and Danny Sumner, William and Mary finished 22-11 and reached the NIT, where the Tribe lost at Shaver's alma mater, North Carolina. Lin and Harvard went 21-7 and finished third in the Ivy League.
"He's obviously a great story," Shaver said of Lin, "and a great kid, I think. He gives a lot of people hope."
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/sports/teeltime and follow him at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP