With a 10-14 (4-8) record, confidence is difficult to generate. St. John's stands at ten wins with six games left in its season, a campaign that has been redefined by development and progress has tested a young team, a stand-in coach, and their collective effort to maintain a mental edge.
Across the river, inspiration may have just sprouted. He has turned heads all across New York City - including in the St. John's pregame media sessions. After just fivegames played for the New York Knicks, the Asian-American guard Jeremy Lin has become a household name.
Pretty 'Linstant,' actually.
The Harvard graduate (with a degree in Economics, not professional defense torching) has not only possibly saved the Knicks' season and coach Mike D'Antoni's job, but maybe the sanity of all New Yorkers as well. Lin's 26.8 points per game through just five contests in the starting lineup is quite the feat.
In Queens, the vibrations of Jeremy Lin's unbelievable arrival are being felt. As the St. John's Red Storm were preparing for Sunday's tilt with the Georgetown Hoyas (see: Rumble preview), discussions shifted to the story that has the city gripped.
Lin has gotten to where is by relentless preparation and outward confidence - he's shocking the world. His almost bewildering story may be an indirect stimulus that the struggling Johnnies need.
More, below the fold.
All he does is 'Lin.'
The headlines are endless. You can't go to a news stand or venture to a sports website without seeing his name rolling across the ticker. Whether it is due to his background, one that doesn't usually produce basketball stars, or that he is lighting up the greatest city in the world, Jeremy Lin is making it seem like nobody has ever seen anything like him.
That's because nobody has ever seen anything like him. An Asian-American guard who played four years in the Ivy League, now causing frenzies at the World's Most Famous Arena? Is this some joke?
St. John's coach Mike Dunlap is buying in to the rejuvenating presence that is Jeremy Lin.
"You have to be surprised. Everyone is surprised," Dunlap said Saturday afternoon. "But in terms of the mania, it isn't a fluke."
After two disheartening losses to Syracuse and Cincinnati last week, St. John's is in need of a pick-me-up. The most recent drubbings, by a combined 47 points, has to hit a young group where it hurts whether they will admit it or not.
The Knicks, who are currently competing without its two best offensive threats Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, are doing it with Lin and mirrors. Much like a St. John's team that is now left with a flimsy 6-man rotation, the Fighting Spike Lees are shorthanded as well. Through adversity, they are winning. It's all about confidence.
And when you get home from a long day of practice and the monotony of hearing words like 'progress' and 'development', seeing Lin make the Lakers look confused has to be uplifting. It's a success story - one that few ever expected.
(Photo courtesy of ESPN.com)
"A good friend of mine coaches in China, and they're involved with [Lin]," Dunlap mentioned. "I was able to talk about Lin with him a couple of weeks ago, before he even started with the Knicks. He's a hell of an athlete, he's really smart, and he's very skilled. He has all three."
Lin has developed his game through a fitful, drawn-out process, a path that Dunlap and his staff are trying to show to the Red Storm this season. It hasn't been an easy few months, but hard work and perseverance translates to future results.
"That's the toughest part of a long season - staying into it mentally," said Moe Harkless. "We don't give up on each other. We just have to stay together and keep fighting."
As the Red Storm gets ready to face the #11 Hoyas, expectations of escaping Washington D.C. with a win are sparse. Georgetown handled St. John's by 20 points in January. But if Jeremy Lin can shock the world, doesn't that mean that the Johnnies can too?
D`Angelo Harrison, a self-proclaimed Kobe Bryant enthusiast and Lakers supporter, had to fight his own emotional investment to acknowledge Lin's theatrical emergence.
"I'm mad that [my Lakers] lost, but Jeremy Lin is definitely doing his thing right now," he said.
If D`Angelo and his friends do their things on Sunday afternoon, they may find themselves in a late-minute tussle with the mighty Hoyas. Who knows? Maybe they can even take the back page away from Jeremy Lin.
Is it really that 'Linsane?'