Jeremy Lin's coach at Harvard: "He's fearless"

New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin (17) drives the ball to the basket next to Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson (25) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, in New York. Lin scored 28 points as the Knicks won 99-88. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin (17) drives the ball to the basket next to Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson (25) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, in New York. Lin scored 28 points as the Knicks won 99-88.
AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

Jeremy Lin has shown nerves of steel during his remarkable run with the New York Knicks and his college coach is not surprised.

Harvard basketball coach Tommy Amaker said the former Crimson standout was a "fearless, passionate competitor" during his Cambridge playing days.

Appearing on CBS Radio's Boomer & Carton show on Friday, Amaker said that while he could not have envisioned Lin would star as the starting point guard of the Knicks, he is not shocked by the player's success.

"One of the things that he had since day one - and it's obviously a part of his DNA - he is absolutely fearless," Amaker said. "Obviously he's grown and gotten stronger (since his college days) but he is an absolute fearless, passionate competitor and those things don't leave you no matter where you are."

In a matter of one week, Lin has become an overnight sensation in New York. The undrafted guard from Harvard has led the Knicks to three straight wins, scoring more than 20 points in each game.

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Amaker said Lin had a "knack for performing when the lights are brightest" - citing a 30-point game against UConn and going toe-to-toe with former Boston College star Tyrese Rice.

The Harvard coach added that by his senior year, Lin had became somewhat of a "cult figure" and, much like his growing legion of fans in the NBA, college fans were routinely coming out to see him.

"He's had glimpses of these types of moments and he's been able to deal with it incredibly well," Amaker said.

The Harvard coach added that Lin has the attitude and athleticism to enjoy sustained success in the NBA. He added that Lin would have no trouble gelling with superstar teammates like Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.

"Jeremy is a smart kid, he's a great teammate," Amaker said. "He has the talent to stand out but the willingness and the character to fit in."

Listen to the entire interview here:

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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