UPDATED on 1/31 at 11:31AM- Added a response from Dartmouth athletics to the end of the post.
UPDATED on 1/31 at 3:22PM- Added a response from WVBR (Cornell radio)
UPDATED on 1/31 at 5:02PM- Added a response from the Golden State Warriors
If you follow our twitter feed, you may have seen an interesting conversation pop up yesterday. The Cornell Basketball Blog reported through their feed that Dartmouth head coach Paul Cormier said in an interview with WVBR (Cornell student radio) that Jeremy Lin was signed by the Golden State Warriors "just to sell tickets."
(Ed.- The Cornell Basketball Blog has asked us to further specify the fact that they were recalling the quote from memory and like us, did not have the actual quote in hand when they made this post.)
Now, accepted at face value, this seemed to us to be quite an inflammatory statement from Coach Cormier- why bring up (and more specifically knock) Lin's signing? Not only would it be a knock on a league rival (that Dartmouth was done facing for the season) because it was saying their one NBA player in recent memory did not deserve to be there but also a knock on the Warriors with their former scout criticizing the signing of a player he did not feel was NBA ready. Cormier came back to Dartmouth as their head coach- it would be interesting for him to burn bridges of that magnitude since he was the Warriors scout looking at Lin. Why would Cormier use WVBR to lash out at his former employer for that decision?
(So that we're clear, this is getting an expansive post dedicated to it because firstly, I'm unaware how much our Twitter followers got of the whole story, so I think it's important that it gets made clear and secondly because, if Cormier's quote matches the CBB's interpretation than this is a big story in regards to Harvard, Dartmouth, Cormier, Lin and even Golden State.)
The thing was, we didn't accept it at face value. Journalism 101 says consider your source and all we had was the Cornell Basketball Blog's interpretation and no actual quote. Now the Cornell Basketball Blog covers the Ivy League very well- I can admit freely that they are a better source of recruiting news for say, Harvard, than we are, as an example. Still, it is the Cornell Basketball Blog and not the Ivy Basketball Blog, so while it presents news, it does not purport itself to be a news source- it is, at its heart, a place for Cornell basketball fans to discuss Cornell basketball. Further, they certainly have shown, at times, a bias against the Cantabs. (For example, their game recap of Harvard vs. Cornell tried to say that a secondary recruiting violation was the reason for Harvard's win, not the fact that Cornell is currently a 4-14 (0-4 Ivy) team that lost six talented players from an NCAA Sweet Sixteen run. Again, that's fine, even though it seems like some sour grapes, but it just helps contextualize that this interpretation came from a fan blog, not a news source.) Here are some further editorializing quotes from the CBB's twitter feed regarding the Cormier/Lin story.
"The Ivy League coaches never voted Jeremy Lin as MVP of the Ivy League... and he goes to the NBA? All about marketing... now it is a fact."
Not a knock on Lin, he IS a terrific player, but he is not at a level above Cornell's BIG 3 from a year ago-- Foote, Wittman and Dale.
These quotes, plus the lack of the actual Paul Cormier quote, made us wonder: was the CBB projecting an interpretation of something Paul Cormier said to try to make sense of the (to them) illogical fact of the universe that Jeremy Lin received an NBA contract and is currently in the D-League while Foote plies his trade in Spain (Ed.- had Israel here before but while under contract to Maccabi Tel Aviv, he's on loan to a Tier Two Spanish team), Dale is in Germany and Wittman is getting a mutual release from a second tier Italian League? (I'd like to also note, the CBB told us Cormier mentioned Lin without prompting. As you'll see, Lin is not mentioned by name in the prompt. Cormier's time scouting for Golden State at the Harvard-Cornell game, however, is- CBB presented it as if Cormier brought up Lin completely out of the blue when, in context, it sort of makes sense to mention Lin.)
Admittedly, and to their credit, the CBB did walk back from the language of "just to sell tickets" to say it was an influence. Well, that's a very different statement. To think fan interest and ticket sales is not a factor in pro contracts is naive but it is a slight on a player to say he is "just" there to sell tickets, implying he does not have the talent to justify a contract in the league. More importantly, the difference in the language has NBA implications as well. How would you feel as a Golden State Warrior fan if you found out, from a former employee, that the front office signed a player in order to get you to buy tickets even though they did not think he was good enough? And how would you feel if, after falling for this plot, the GM demoted Lin to the D-League insuring you have to fly to Reno in order to see him? (It should be noted, I haven't seen anyone that covers Golden State buzzing around this quote. Seems to me a former scout saying his team signed a guy that they didn't see fitting in the NBA would be big news- unless that was never actually the implication.)
Further credit to the CBB, they were able to get the audio of the clip up on Youtube (WVBR did not respond to our request for the audio or a chance to speak with Barry Leonard, the broadcaster that conducted the interview.) We present that to you now and ask what do you think? After the jump, we'll transcribe the interview and give our final thoughts.