Amid the echo chamber of dissent surrounding the Jeremy Lin signing, there's a very interesting historical question that hasn't really been answered. As sports fans, we often want to believe that we're seeing something new and fresh, something that's never happened before. The reality is that most things we see have happened before and will almost surely happen again. The last nine months of Jeremy Lin's career, though? That might actually be unprecedented in the history of American sport.
Think about it. Try to find a historically comparable situation where all three of the following things occurred:
1. A player at the beginning of his professional career without any status as a top prospect was acquired by a team off of the waiver wire/from the free agent market as freely available talent.
2. That same player promptly played at an elite level for a portion of exactly one season.
3. That player departed the team during the subsequent offseason.
At the start of the college basketball season, fans are looking for their team's story — a compelling narrative that will define their school's season. In the coming months there will be plenty of talk about conference records, coaching decisions, and off-the-court controversies. But, in the interest of balance, I've gathered the storylines guaranteed to not define any ranked team's season. Except Vanderbilt. Theirs is destiny.
North Carolina: Its rivalry with Tulsa has heated up after the Tar Heels stole the Golden Hurricanes’ athletic director Bubba Cunningham.
Kentucky: Walk-on Sam Malone hopes to garner playing time in order to become tired of Cheers-related puns in newspaper headlines.
Ohio State: Buckeyes will miss John Diebler’s jump shooting, singing.
Missouri: What do you want me to say? Don Draper went there.
This post has been updated to correct an error in the Gonzaga entry Jordan Carr runs the blog Better than Voodoo while trying to make it as a screenwriter in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter at @btvoodoo.