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Jeremy Lin's high school coach says race hindered opportunities

February 13, 2012 |  8:28 pm

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As a senior at Palo Alto High in 2006, Jeremy Lin was the San Francisco Chronicle’s basketball player of the year.

The point guard who would go on to become a New York Knicks sensation also had zero scholarship offers.

But his high school coach, Peter Diepenbrock, said he never thought Lin’s being an Asian American might have caused college coaches to stay away because the Central Coast Section of about 125 schools typically produces only three Division I college players in a five-year period.

Diepenbrock’s perception changed the next year, he said, when 10 Division I coaches scouted a black Palo Alto player whom Diepenbrock described as someone who “could have been a nice junior college player.”

“That’s when I’m going, there might be something to this here,” Diepenbrock said. “If [Lin] was African American or Caucasian, it might have been a different deal.”

St. Mary’s and Santa Clara were among the colleges that came closest to offering scholarships, Diepenbrock said. Lin also considered attending UCLA merely to be close to his brother Josh, then a student in Westwood.

“He told me as late as his junior year he wanted to go to UCLA and just be with his brother,” Diepenbrock said.

The Knicks, of course, are glad everything worked out exactly the way it did.

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-- Ben Bolch

Photo: Knicks guard Jeremy Lin drives against Lakers guard Steve Blake during their game Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. Credit: Jim McIsaac / Newsday / McClatchy-Tribune

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