Despite being the centerpiece of the Vikings' run to the 2006 CIF Division II state basketball title, Lin was unsure of his future. That he ended up in a Golden State Warriors' uniform and is participating in his first professional training camp this week is the stuff of Hollywood movies.
"My whole path here has been a miracle," Lin said at the Warriors' media day earlier this week. "I can think of thousands of different scenarios that had to happen for me to be here."
Lin said he thought about quitting a number of times over the past decade — when things got tough, when he was 3,000 miles away from home, when Harvard accumulated loss after loss, when the Crimson changed coaches, when the Ivy League championship slipped through his fingers as a senior, and when he went undrafted by the NBA.
"I have been humbled," Lin said. "I got frustrated when I got hurt, when we went through tough losses. The only thing I wanted to do in college was win the Ivy League championship. I didn't care if ESPN wrote about me or not."
He became somewhat of a 'cause celebrity,' as word leaked out about Lin's ability during his senior season with Harvard.
Lin now sits in the same room with Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis and a group of new players readying themselves for an NBA season under first-year Warriors' coach Keith Smart.
New ownership is about to take over the storied franchise, and there's a tangible sense of hope and renewal in the air.
"All the players, the whole organization is going through a transition and it's definitely a positive one," Lin said. "We're going in the right direction. There's a lot of excitement and buzz surrounding the Warriors. We're just trying to get ready for the preseason and play hard. We're going to worry about what we can do on the court and hopefully everything goes uphill from here."
Smart, who played collegiate ball at Indiana and had a brief taste of the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs, has been charged with redefining the Warriors' attitude and their style of play.
"It is no secret that Don Nelson wanted me to be a defensive coordinator," Smart said. "We still want to run and play fast but we want to add another element of being a physical, big basketball team from a defensive standpoint. Rebounding is part of defense. You're not going to win without rebounding."
The Warriors last season averaged 108.8 points a game, second in the NBA to the Phoenix Suns. But Golden State also allowed over 112 points a game.
"Defense is what we have to do to win," Curry said. "We can score with the best of them. Coach Smart, to his core, really believes in defense. Our team defense is probably going to be better just because of his attitude."
The new approach is just fine with Lin, who has shown the ability to do more than score.
"I'm a playmaker," he said. "It's not only scoring. Maybe it's a steal, a rebound or an assist. I can do a little of everything. I can be a point guard and manage the game."
Lin came to the Warriors with a chance to play a reserve role. Curry and Ellis together is the face of the franchise. Lin remains the student, learning from one of the best guard tandems in the NBA.
"I'm trying to learn about their games," Lin said. "They are both smart, explosive, quick and the way they use their bodies around the rim and finish is really impressive."
Lin has also begun to embrace his popularity among Asian-Americans, especially as younger fans look to him.
"I want to have that responsibility, Lin said. "I want to be the role model for kids growing up. I want to impact and influence their lives; to give whatever knowledge and wisdom I have learned. I want to give back to the community, give back to the kids."
Lin's first chance to get on the court comes a week from Friday , on Oct. 8, when the Warriors host the Los Angeles Clippers in their preseason opener at 7:30 p.m. Two days later the Sacramento Kings come to town for a 7 p.m. exhibition.
"It's up to me more than anything else," Lin said. "If I can perform, I'll get the chance."