"It's tough coming home and playing relaxed," Lin said. "I've been thinking about this game for months."
Lin, a sophomore guard for the Harvard men's basketball team, was referring to his first basketball game in Palo Alto (technically across the street from Palo Alto) since helping Paly win a state championship two years ago.
So he could only shake his head when he noticed family and friends wearing green T-shirts, with white lettering that read, "The Jeremy Lin Show," on the front and had an outline of the United States with arrows from Harvard to Stanford and back again, dated Nov. 9, 2007.
The credit (or perhaps blame) goes to Palo Alto basketball coach Peter Diepenbrock, who thought it would be a nice way to greet his former point guard.
"It's cool," Lin said. "I wasn't really thinking about it because we were playing Stanford."
Lin would rather forget his first appearance in Maples Pavilion, a 111-56 rout to the host Cardinal. He missed all six of his shots and fouled out in about 20 minutes.
"It was disappointing for him being at home," Harvard first-year coach Tommy Amaker said. "Coming here, he was trying too hard. I was hoping he could get something going, get into a rhythm but Jeremy will play better. We have a lot of faith in him."
Lin did play better over his final two games in the Basketball Travelers Classic. In a 79-61 loss to UC Santa Barbara (coached by former Menlo College coach Bob Williams) on Saturday, Lin was 6-of-11 from the floor, 3-of-6 from long range and finished with a then career high 15 points.
On Sunday, Lin led the Crimson to a 90-60 victory over Northwestern State. He scored 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, recorded five assists and made four steals.
"I want to be the player who does whatever it takes to win," Lin said. "I want to be able to make a difference."
Lin considers himself fortunate in that Amaker was a four-year starter in the mid-80s as a point guard with some great Duke teams. Diepenbrock, his coach with the Vikings, was also a point guard in high school and college.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for him," Lin said. "On top of his resume, he also has character and a great personality. There's already a big difference from last year."
Harvard has suffered through five consecutive losing seasons and Lin thinks this is the group to turn it around. Amaker has been successful at both Seton Hall and Michigan before arriving at Harvard. He's also served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, so he understands how to play the game at a high level.
As for that state title a couple of years back? Lin said he saw former teammates Brad Lehman and Cooper Miller on Friday night but that many of them are off playing basketball. The state title isn't discussed much. There's plenty of time for that.
"We'll wait until we get old," Lin said, smiling as he rejoined the sizable contingent of folks with green shirts.
Harvard opens its home season against Mercer on Friday.
ALUMNI NOTES: Palo Alto High grad Katrina Zawojski, a junior outside hitter on the Colgate women's volleyball team, earned Patriot League first-team honors for the second straight year. Zawojski led the Raiders' attack for the third consecutive year with 3.86 kills per game and a career-best .286 hitting percentage. Her 390 kills this season rank seventh all-time on the Colgate single-season list. She posted double-digit kills in all but eight matches and recorded nine double-doubles this season. She holds the single-match record for kills in a four-game match with 31 and currently ranks fourth all-time at Colgate on the career digs list. Zawojski will lead the Raiders into the Patriot League tournament semifinals on Friday night . . . Another former Paly volleyball standout, Skidmore College junior outside hitter Murray Koch, helped her team reach the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament last week. Koch had 15 kills and 16 digs while hitting .303 in a three-game sweep of Hunter College, and added 10 kills and 16 digs in a three-game loss to Stevens Institute that ended Skidmore's season at 30-10.