Editor Letter From The Editor
Ultimate Athlete Magazine
First, I’d like to introduce myself as the new Long Island edition editor. You may have seen my past work in the magazine as I was working closely with both Jessica and Mike Browning of the College Edition to create top-quality content. Now, with my focus almost solely set on the Long Island high school landscape I hope to keep you all informed and entertained with the stories of the best athletes in the area. I’d like to take you deeper inside the huddle and locker room and bring these stories to life on the pages in the magazine. In this edition we look at some of the top basketball players on Long Island, including how the leadership and versatility of William Floyd star Anthony White has helped lift his team to the top of Suffolk County League I. We also traveled out to Harborfields to talk to Lucas Woodhouse, the Tornadoes wizard of a point guard who leads the Island in assists. Beyond that we have stories on an under appreciated sport - wrestling. Take a look at the family ties that have helped brothers Malik and Corey Rasheed of Longwood ascend to Suffolk County championships. You can also read about the interesting dynamic of teammates - best friends, really - wrestling each other in the biggest match of their lives. I hope you all enjoy the first issue under my watch and will join us throughout the end of the winter and into the spring as Ultimate Athlete magazine proves to be the preeminent source for Long Island High School sports.
Senior Sports Editor SENIOR Producer Senior Art Director Sports Editor Graphic DesignerS
Media Correspondent DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA Distribution manager
Paul Corace N.J. Comanzo Jose Luis Covarrubias Jessica Peters Kaitie Monda Mike Browning Adriana Kijko Josh Rosenman Nicholas Herms Mike McInerney Mike Raimo Josh Rosenman Nadine O’Farrell Taylor Woods Richard Brooks
Gene Morris Alessandra Malito Jessica Peters Gary Simeone Jordan Lauterbach Mike Raimo
Mike Mejia, cscs Dr. Tom Ferraro
Morgan Harrison Adil Borluca Brian Doxey
Adil Borluca Cover ArtworK
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ultimateathletemagazine.com Ultimate Athlete Magazine (ISSN 1931-5295) is published 12 times a year by Ultimate Athlete, Inc., 40 Woodbine Avenue, Northport, New York 11768. All contents copyright 2009 by Ultimate Athlete, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use in whole or part of the content without the prior written consent of Ultimate Athlete, Inc. is strictly prohibited. All logos and trademarks are the properties of their respective owners. Although the writers and the publisher have exhaustively researched all sources to ensure the accuracy and the completeness of the information contained in this publication, we assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. The opinions expressed in all materials are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Ultimate Athlete, Inc or Long Island’s Ultimate Athlete Magazine.
12 William Floyd Football
19 Newfield Football
24 John Glenn Football
28 Sayville Football
38 Hills West Boys Basketball
42 Amityville Boys Basketball
54 Garden City Girls Basketball
61 Sports Psychology Why Athletes Self Destruct
62 UA Training Not So Fast
66 Pro Corner A.J. Price
Photo by Morgan Harrison
“Driven” C.W. Post guard Kenyatta Sears drives past a NYIT defender en route to a nifty layup
Photo by Morgan Harrison
“Big Snare” Stony Brook Guard Dani Klupenger out jumps a trio of UMBC players (and her own teammates) for a loose ball and valuable possession
Season-changing rebound Lady Violets look to get back on track in time for the post season By Jerry Del Priore Photos by NYU Athletics
n his first season at the helm in 2008-2009 (in an interim capacity), New York University Head Coach Stefano Trompeo experienced immediate success, going 23-5, including a 10-4 mark in the University Athletic Association (UAA) conference. The Lady Violets reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Championship, and finished the season ranked 14th in the D3hoops. com Top-25 Poll and 16th in the USA Today/ESPN Division III Coaches’ Rankings. A former assistant, Trompeo attributed the team’s winning ways the talented bunch of ladies he inherited from longtime Head Coach Janice Quinn– including former NYU standout and current assistant coach Jessica McEntee. At first, Trompeo felt pressure to continue winning with a squad that didn’t fully bear his stamp, but now with his interim title removed, he’s learned to adjust during his tenure at NYU. “I think initially [there were],” Trompeo said of the demands to keep up with his early success. “I think that second year, and even going into the third year, I still was a little naïve to the expectation of how things went. But I had to kind of come into my own, and I think going into this season I had a little more figured out, about how I wanted to do things.” Going into this season, the Lady Violets knew they could play with anyone outside their (UAA) conference, Trompeo noted, winning games against York College, Brooklyn College, Clarkson University and Oswego State University. NYU surged to a 7-3 record in its first ten contests before beginning conference play. Trompeo credits the Lady Violets’ solid start to the strong cohesive unit his players have become, and expects it to serve them well as the season progresses. “I think them working together and their team chemistry is prob-
ably one of the better years I’ve had,” Trompeo explained. “They’re playing for each other, which is key. When they’re playing for one another, and they want to work to accomplish a common goal, it makes it so much better for everyone; it’s just a better experience.” While the end of the regular season approaches, senior guard Bianca Storts feels NYU needs to step-up its defensive effort and convert more scoring opportunities in the hopes of yielding a better result than the last season, which finished in a disappointing 12-13 record. “I think we need to bear down on defense, and make sure we execute on offense (more),” Storts, who is averaging a teamhigh 11 points per game, said. “I hope we finish off this season better than last year.” Non-conference games aside, the team’s true test came against the UAA, which gave NYU a better indication of just how far it could go. In their first conference game, the Lady Violets dispatched Brandeis University in overtime at home, 66-57 in what they hoped would be a litmus test of things to come. “This year is starting to become the way I want to do my real program, and kids are really learning how I want things to go, whereas now all of seniors were freshmen when I first started,” the Queens, New York, native said. “But I think now I’ve learned a lot over the last couple years about, yes, we’ve had a lot success, but each year is different and we have to learn, and get better.” NYU won its next game against Hunter College in a non-conference matchup, but proceeded to drop six consecutive UAA tilts before beating league opponent Carnegie Mellon University, 68-57, at home. Unfortunately for NYU, its UAA woes continued, losing to Case Western Reserve University, 61-54, on the road, dropping their conference record to 2-7 (10-10 overall) on the season. Trompeo believes he has a solid squad, but it still needs to work on a few key aspects of the game. “I still want to advance our transition game a little bit. I think there’s a lot of untapped potential in just getting some scores when we get defensive stops, more turnovers,” he said. “I also want to get better rebounding. I think there’s still more room for improvement there.” Just like any young team, with a combination of six freshmen and sophomores on its roster, Trompeo said NYU will experience its fair share of growing pains, but will put forth a strong effort, and learn as the basketball year moves along. “It’s still brand new to a lot of them, and I am playing a lot of young kids,” Trompeo said. “So, I think they’re doing a great job, and they’re competing, but it’s still a learning process for us as a team, and for all the individual players.”
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Just a thin, light, super-responsive layer of Micro G® foam transforms cushioned landings into explosive takeoffs. That’s how you get more bounce.
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a ing t a e r , i nd shi ps s in c eading e i h t r e i r r d b pio n Ha ool spi cheerl ut no on a n o l a org and sch petitive ades. B o r k ’s ch am w M by ism of com it in sp li ng sq u ad c s e i t o u e p ot gr h e e r h athl world s have g to e p n e i h , n m i c T rell pre rueling ampion ntai nsibil r r i u a s a o e ’F to m g resp tite fo , trat n the g and ch O f s l e n e I o s in t. m ur leadin le appe tionals d ity, c e o d a u d y o d r s N der ng pro comm ersity. ting l chee nsatiab for na ourse, a a e c l i l i a ed n i repare d of c is aleer ertain cious Univ o d a t h s c s n nt tra ge pre ean icatio am ha p to p es, an there m olle mic, e most t Hofs d ua d ded progr r cam , parad ts it, “ a a e q n h s d t y a r d ee rofoun y, the umme itions xto pu t is e squ h n c e ickis d a p o Ma g at s xhib Cali m an th t K h i t e f m t e r h s th d er o om an ugust trainin allies, Taylo a com more t b h suc nd Sle A mem classro rom A ntense vals, r Junior s has t a a C n F i e s ng sti eve ng Isl and U lege n Bei e in th year. g with ard fe ams. A i ted alk, Lo titions r a col ighest w ic te nc ut the tartin a o a t p i m o c e let ,s red ho for arti ALS W comp mon f ing’s h p per throug s’ time ce gea tra ath r.” g m ad s, am s i r e te event rleadin ’t unco heerle ties embe pract er Hof ork fo h t y w ear, issions l chee ad isn ly to c y nt,” its m wed b the oth ew to e c a i n o l c m o m o m k o lish foll orting thing n ade ade, ad lete, l f wor nique p c a m p u o cco “They od 011 ng par ed Ath kind eal is sup s some a 2 t o a 010 comi icapp . This and z gre team. t’s a g way 2 a e e d a s s h r n wa ith the oud. I a tradIn t d, hom he Ha Hofst f focu t i ; r o t t n . row year w very p lished cade, eke m for nals a s level being a e b e W a ’ io o s] in traight o I am as esta past d p Off key Te l Reg ofstra used t i in s s sh e o ion ﬁfth- row, team h . In th ships 006, p Hoc Scho , but H ey are a n e is e am h d h [ch ki in h our in am, th erhous ampio 2003, 2 Hig r squa lace t r u f p e e fo Kocis to go progr l pow nal Ch itle in ship in n che lon, a o e e g Alek serve of the ationa Natio ship t pion rst in v a ech n n nt A am aﬁ de eh ry “W e stude ey all t histo on as a he UC hampio nal Ch row— t i t r h dua and t he sho eputat rce at n the c ernatio th in a a r g r t o fo rd nt ur said ked ha ut.”In and a lming eam w 2011 I eir fo e t h o wor to go inanc erwhe o-ed” g the ing it t v n c m way of do n an o small ncludi n, mak i e n “ itio ’ve be l. The 2011 ( t seaso s y the ndo, F 2010, ain la g , a Orl ,2009 once a 7 200 s) and ry. o i Par ol hist 43 o sch WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM
takes a unique group of athletes and dedicated coaching staff to keep up with this demanding schedule. Head coach Christine Farina and Assistant Coach Matt Jones not only teach their team to master advanced routines and techniques, they motivate them to accomplish goals they may not have thought possible. “The experience is tough; a lot of work, a lot of injuries, and a lot of people coming and going, but at the end of the day, the team really deserve it,” Kociski said. “Christine is very hard on us and all that hard work ends up paying up in the end.” Farina and Jones are honored to be teaching at their alma mater. They were integral parts of the Pride cheer squad when they were members, and now as coaches, they continue to lead Hofstra to bigger and better things each year. For new additions such as transfer student Brittany Brown-Webster, cheering at Hofstra “is a whole new level, and an awesome experience.” By speaking to the cheerleaders and watching them interact, one can sense how tight knit this group really is. The time they spend together preparing, which is rewarded with regular success, has formed a bond unique to any other sport.“There are great people on this team and they made me feel welcome right away,” Brown-Webster said. “It was a great experience to go down and represent my school. I am so proud to call these people my family and do what we all love together.” This year, the team not only earned another national championship but also the title of “2012 World Champions.” Calixto, a fourth year member of the team, cherishes the fulﬁllment she gets from having her hard work rewarded with a new, unprecedented title. “Deﬁnitely one to remember,” Calixto gushed while describing the past year. “I just live for this and to know that my dreams came true and that I worked for it one more time is just amazing.” “Since coming here I have learned not only so many cheerleading lessons but life lessons […]things that I take out with me when I leave the gym I know everyday I’ve come here and learned something new about myself about working with people and going after something you believe in, and I feel like without Christine, this wouldn’t be possible. She has deﬁnitely taught me a lot and I’m sure she has impacted all of the other people.”
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Culture Shock Beth O’Boyle tasked with Building a program from the ground up Gene Morris Photos by: Morgan Harrison aking over a program that hasn’t had a winning record in ﬁve years is no easy task for any head coach. Leading a team the season after the graduation of ﬁfth all-time leading scorer Kirsten Jeter makes only adds to the monumental task. But Beth O’Boyle, named the head coach of the Stony Brook women’s basketball team on April 7, 2011 is doing all she inject conﬁdence into a team that has can to implement a winning strategy and been down on its luck since the graduation of all-time leading scorer Mykeema Ford in 2007.Coaching a team to a winning record is one thing; changing the losing culture of a program that has had little optimism in nearly a decade is quite another. “I think one of the ﬁrst things that our coaching staff has tried to do is change the culture of the program and really be like in the weight room establish what work ethic is going to O’Bolye said. The Seaand in the classroom and in practice,” wolves nearly made a Cinderella run all the way to the America hind the play of Jeter and East Championship game in 2010 beguard Misha Horsey, but fell just short in an upset bid against top-seeded Hartford in the semi-ﬁnals. Instead of being momentum heading into 2011, the with a knee injury after only Horsey was awarded a redshirt for the 2011-12 season, but of 9 players averaging as the Seawolves are still
able to use that nugget of success as Seawolves lost Horsey for the season three games. and allowed to rejoin the Seawolves hasn’t been as effective. Horsey is one between 17.9 and 27.5 minutes per game looking to ﬁnd a truly effective rotation. 61 WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM
O’Boyle was happy with her team’s defense early in the season—the Seawolves have continued to play solid defense, ranking ﬁfth in the conference allowing 56.3 points pergame. But it’s the offensive struggles that have kept the Seawolves from breaking through. The team is last in the conference in shooting percentage averaging just 31.2 percent from the ﬂoor while averaging an impotent 43.4 points per game. “For us to take the next step, I think it’s a little bit about learning how to win and better execution on the offensive end,” O’Boyle said. It will take time for O’Boyle to fully implement her philosophy and recruit the type of players with which she needs to do so. Although the team has struggled recently, the revitalization of so many other programs within the University’s athletic department has made playing sports at Stony Brook a much more attractive option than in the past.“It’s amazing,” O’Boyle said. “We talk to high school coaches and AAU coaches and there’s just so much Stony Brook has to offer. It’s an exciting time for us recruiting wise and just to be a part of it. You look at all the facilities that are going up - it’s unreal.”2012 won’t be a season to remember in the annals of Stony Brook history for the women’s basketball program, but with a young, enthusiastic head coach with a track record of success, the Seawolves seem to be on the right track.“The ﬁrst and most important thing is the culture of our program,” she said. “For me it’s about the culture, about establishing our recruiting and being competitive in the America East.”
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Photo by Morgan Harrison
““High-T” The Hofstra Cheer Squad executes high-flying maneuvers during stunting practice
Photo by Adil Borluca
“Hang Ten” Hofstra guard Mike Moore grips the rim after a monster dunk over a George Mason defender
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Not so Fast The long-term approach to speed development: Part II. Story By: Mike Mejia CSCS In the ﬁrst installment of this series, I wrote about the importance of improving things such as systemic strength and movement efﬁciency before jumping right in to more advanced forms of speed training. Here in part two, I’ll show you how to build on the strength improvements that you made during your ﬁrst phase of training, as well as how you can start getting your nervous system primed for high-speed movement. This way, once you get around to part III (yes, this was originally slated to be a two part series, but there’s just too much good stuff to cover!), you’ll be ready to build some real explosive strength and power. At the end of the program, you’ll not only be a noticeably faster, but more explosive and far more resistant to injury. If you want to be fast, you have to train fast. Not necessarily in the weight room (at least initially), but you do have to work on improving your neuromuscular coordination—or the communication between your brain and muscles. All the strength and ﬂexibility training in the world isn’t going to result in more speed if you’re not also teaching your nervous system to recruit your muscles more rapidly. One of the most effective ways to do this is by working with a speed ladder. This simple tool can not only work wonders in terms of improving your foot speed and agility, but the quick movements and changes of direction it requires can
also help improve the strength of the muscles around the ankles, knees and hips. Simply lay it on the ground and get ready to challenge yourself with any number of multi-directional drills designed to enhance coordination, balance and efﬁciency of movement. Another great drill for helping increase speed is called the wall acceleration. An excellent complement to the ladder, this one is great for improving acceleration by focusing on proper hip extension and knee drive. It also helps by recreating the forward lean necessary for optimal sprinting mechanics. First done as a basic march holding at the top of each movement (to help transfer any strength improvements you’ve made to more a functional position), once you get the hang of it, you can quickly ﬁre through the drill for speciﬁed counts. I usually ﬁnd that the three count works best (start with one leg in the up position and then pump the legs for three strides and pause), as it reduces the chance for too much fatigue to develop, and allows athletes to focus on really “punching” the back leg down into the ground and getting a nice high knee drive with the opposite leg.
Get Fired Up
To do it: Stand facing a wall with your feet about 2 1/2 to 3 feet from its base (how far you actually stand will depend on your height and the length of your arms). Next, lean forward and place your hands on the wall at about shoulder’s height. In this position, your body should be at approximately a 45 degree angle, with your heels up off the ground. Once in position, keep your torso erect and core lightly braced as you bring one leg up until your thigh is parallel to the ground, with your shin held underneath your hamstring and your toes cocked up. Start out marching in this position, being sure to hold for a split section each time, then progress to the three count version of the drill. Try 6-10 repetitions of the three count (each 1,2,3 cycle is one rep), then rest for a minute or so and repeat for 2-3 sets.
Strength Training: Think Outside the Box
From a strengthening standpoint, the objective is to build on the improvements in stability and range of motion made in the ﬁrst phase, while also adding some loading into the mix. Here, exercises like squats, lunges and deadlift variations work well for the lower body, while a continued focus on core stability and strengthening the muscles that surround the shoulder girdle should take priority from an upper body standpoint. Of course, as those of you who’ve followed my articles here in the past have come to expect, the drills I’m about to feature will be slightly different from the typical weight room approach. First up, we’ve got the barbell back squat. What’s so different about these? Well, in order to discourage athletes from using too much weight and taking the focus off of the powerful glutes and hamstrings (shifting it instead into the knees and lower back), I’ve got one small alteration in mind. Actually, you could call it a mini alteration—as in the use of a mini band during the lift. By placing one of these little devils around your knees before getting ready to squat, you can accomplish two important objectives:
1. Increase glute activation to help improve knee stability 2. Reduce the amount of weight, but actually do more muscular work.
Mini Band Barbell Back Squat:
Begin by placing a mini band around your knees. Next, step underneath the bar and carefully lift the weight up off the supports. Once in position, use your glutes to “ﬁre out” against the band as you sit back into a parallel squat. Pause at bottom for just a second and then push back up to the starting position. Try 2-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
Instead of stressing your joints with more weight than you should be using, the increased recruitment of the posterior chain (the glutes, hamstrings and spinal erectors working together as a unit) makes the exercise inﬁnitely more difﬁcult and effective. Speaking of the posterior chain, another great way to target the area is by combining two of the best strengthening drills for it into one brutal exercise. With the reverse lunge/ unilateral Romanian deadlift combo, you’ll work on balance, strength and coordination all at once. Not to mention the fact that you’ll once again be reducing strain and increasing stability of the knees.
Reverse Lunge/ Unilateral Romanian Deadlift:
Stand holding a couple of dumbbells (or medicine ball as pictured). Begin by striding back a couple of feet into a reverse lunge. In the bottom position, your torso should be held upright, with your front leg at a 90 degree angle about parallel to the ground and your back heel off the ground. From there, drive off your front heel back into the starting position and then hinge at the hips as you lean forward and lift the same leg straight behind you. In the ﬁnish position your torso should be just about parallel to the ground with your support leg slightly bent and your back leg held out behind you. Go back to the starting position and continue this sequence until you’ve done 6-8 repetitions of each movement, then switch legs. Try 2-3 sets. WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM
Sawing Band Row:
For this one, you’ll need a rubber resistance band with something sturdy to anchor it to. Once you have the band anchored, step back until it’s taut and ﬂex your knees and hips slightly as you keep your torso up straight and tall. Next, keep your torso in place as you pull with your upper back and drive one elbow back behind you. As soon as you reach the end point of the range, return that arm to the starting position as you simultaneously start pulling with the opposite side. Continue in a swaying motion until you’ve done 8-10 repetitions with each side. Try 2-3 sets.
Spiderman Crawls: Although technically more of a mobility drill, this is also a great way to increase strength in the shoulders, hips and core. Get down on the ground in a pushup position and begin by reaching your left arm well in front of your head. Keeping your left arm in place, bring your right knee up so it’s right next to your elbow. From there, keep your hips nice and low as you reach forward with your right arm, while simultaneously pushing through your right leg and driving your left knee forward in a crawling motion. Continue crawling for 6-8 strides per side. For added difﬁculty, try doing an asymmetrical push-up with each new hand placement.
Finally, while strengthening exercises are all well and good, at some point you need to get down to the business of running. The drills featured below will help you develop three important facets of speed development: Reaction time, starting strength and acceleration. 86 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE
Lean, Fall, Run: Here’s a fun drill that will teach you to drive hard off your initial foot fall and turn your feet over as quickly as possible while you maintain the proper forward lean. Begin by placing a piece of tape on the ground, or drawing a line on the ﬂoor in front of you. Stand up straight and tall just behind the line, and keep your body perfectly straight, as you lean forward and begin to fall. Once you feel your heels start to come off the ground quickly drive one foot and the opposite arm forward as you initiate a sprint. Continue accelerating and increasing the length of each stride until you’ve taken about 5 steps, then jog it off and return to the starting position. Be sure to alternate which leg you start with each time. Try 8-10 repetitions, resting about 15-20 seconds between each.
High Kneeling Sprint Starts:
These are good for increasing hip-extension strength to gain a more powerful start. Begin in a high kneeling position with your left knee on the ground and your right foot out about a foot in front of you and your foot ﬂat on the ground. Next, lean into your front leg until your right knee comes out over your toes to create what’s known as a positive shin angle. As you do this, your left arm will come slightly forward (and your right elbow back behind your torso) into a good sprinting position. From there, take off into a 10-yard sprint by driving into the ground with your right leg as you simultaneously bring your left knee and right arm forward as explosively as possible. The goal is to try and get the take-off leg (in this case the right) as straight as possible as you extend your hip, thus creating a powerful knee drive with the back leg. Sprint the 10 yards, walk back and repeat with the other side. Try 8-10 repetitions. .
Flying 20’s: The goal here is, once again, to increase acceleration. Go out onto a football ﬁeld, or track with clearly marked distances. Start out on the goal line, or at least 20 yards behind a couple of agility cones. Begin jogging at a quick pace, gradually accelerating as you approach the cones. Once you hit your mark, sprint at top speed for another twenty yards and then jog it off and walk back to the starting line. Try 8-10 repetitions.
Be sure to keep your eyes out for the ﬁnal installment of this series where the focus will be on building explosive strength and multi-directional speed. Until then, remember that speed development is a step-wise process and funny as it may sound, not something that you can just “rush” into.
For more great strength & training information from Mike Mejia, visit his website at www.basesportsconditioning.com 87 WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM
The NFL Youth Football Fund and USA Football salute the players of the 2011 Empire Challenge High School Football All-Star Game. Football teaches its players, coaches and participants valuable life lessons that can be applied both on and off the field. Your participation today is not only a celebration of your all-star season, but also a testament to the perseverance of Empire Challenge Inc. and the Boomer Esiason Foundation. Their tireless efforts in the fight against cystic fibrosis bring those with the disease closer to a cure, and help them live healthier lives.
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Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard of the newest sports sensation, Jeremy Lin. For all the hype and hoopla surrounding Lin’s emergence as the starting point guard for the New York Knicks— he graduated from Harvard in a league where most players only attend college for a year, is the first prominent Asian-American in the NBA and is playing in New York, the biggest media market on earth—one thing is crystal clear: the guy can play. The most difficult thing to wrap your mind around in this ongoing saga is the fact that Lin may very well be here to stay. He’s playing at a high level in a system that is built to inflate offensive numbers and help the point guard distribute the ball. The total numbers over Lin’s first four starts are getting the most publicity—he has the highest point total of any player in his first four starts since the NBA-ABA merger. But around these parts, it’s a much bigger deal that Lin basically resuscitated a Knicks season that was on the verge of disaster, a season that had high expectations after the offseason signing of dominant center Tyson Chandler. It was the perfect storm of circumstances. Lin’s opportunity came because the Knicks two biggest stars, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, were out of the lineup. Lin took over, scoring 134 points in the first five games, logging significant playing time. Consider that he had scored 108 total points in the first 38 games of his career, and you begin to understand how unlikely this stretch of games has been for Lin. The most polarizing aspect of Lin’s ascent to NBA stardom is his race. Being the only Asian-American player in the NBA has made Lin an icon. Any NBA player rising from the obscurity of the developmental league to put up the numbers Lin has would make for a big story, but it’s the media market of New York and the novelty of seeing an Asian-American succeed in the NBA that has landed him on the websites of CNN and Time Magazine.
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With the spotlight now burning on a player who has never been a prominent player on a team with significant media coverage, it will be interesting to see how Lin handles the added pressure. Just keeping up the basketball side of things with Anthony and Stoudemire coming back, and trying to guide a team with one of the most passionate and demanding fan bases in the league back to the playoffs would be a great accomplishment. Doing all that with the rock star-like following that’s sure to come will only make it more difficult. The one thing that’s certain is that the NBA has never seen a story quite like this. An unknown player coming from the D-League to carry a struggling franchise in the biggest media market in the country to fivestraight wins without its two biggest stars, and doing it with flair and charisma on the court is unprecedented. Even if he eventually comes back to Earth and settles in as a solid distributor and starter, the Knicks and their fans will be extremely happy. And they’ll always remember the week when Jeremy Lin became a national phenomenon that ruled New York. Written by: Gene Morris
92 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE
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