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Amar Miglani: LINked In & Enjoying the Hoopla

As "Linsanity" swept through New York City last month, one member of the Einstein community watched with an acute interest and a measure of pride. First-year medical student Amar Miglani was a teammate of Jeremy Lin at Palo Alto High School, where he had a courtside seat and occasional co-starring role as Lin led their team to many victories.

Amar Miglani, high school teammate of Jeremy Lin
Amar Miglani, high school teammate of Jeremy Lin
Lin's court prowess may have rubbed off on the lanky six-foot-two Miglani, who recently led his Einstein intramural team, the Superficial Fascia, to the championship title.

Amid the Lintense Linterst in all things Jeremy, Mr. Miglani and several former high school teammates joined some former coaches during February to have lunch with Mr. Lin, where they got to see the Linsanity surrounding their friend up close. "As we were leaving the restaurant, a number of people realized it was Jeremy and crowded around him asking for autographs," he recalled.

He and his teammates then found their seats in various parts of Madison Square Garden to watch Mr. Lin work his court magic against the NBA's defending champs Dallas Mavericks.

"Even in high school, Jeremy had an incredible capacity to make good decisions under pressure, and he's demonstrated that in his play with the Knicks. No matter how tough the pressure was, he always seemed to rise above it and find a way to get things done."

Members of Einstein’s intramural basketball champions, Superficial Facsia
Members of Einstein’s intramural basketball champions, Superficial Facsia, (from left): Yehuda Lerea, Ethan Hoch, Amar Miglani, Jeff Gilligan, Andrew Herzik and Abhi Nafday.
There was, however, one instance where Mr. Lin's love of basketball and drive to excel actually hurt his high school team. "Jeremy could practice for hours on end, and he'd also play pick-up games at the local Y when we didn't have practice or a game," said Mr. Miglani, who was a year ahead of Mr. Lin. "During my senior year, we had a chance to win the states until Jeremy broke his ankle."

He continued, "He had been playing pick-up when it happened and he felt terrible. He was even determined for it to heal in time for the Northern California playoffs, which is the lead-up to the state championship game, but it wasn't to be."

While there was other talent on the team, the loss of Mr. Lin's uncanny court sense and ability to handle both the ball and the pressure of full-court defense was a deciding factor.

"Jeremy was clearly the best player in our area, and he could have done well at the Division I schools that overlooked him. He just has that knack of finding ways to get things done on the court, and I think he'd have been able to do that at any elite Division I program, given the chance. His play for the Knicks is evidence of that."

Mr. Lin's success has helped to reconnect many of his former teammates and others associated with the Palo Alto program. "We have a chat group and, during every Knicks game, we're texting each other, especially when he makes an amazing pass or sticks a shot under tough defense," said Mr. Miglani. "He knows how to get the ball to who's open and raises the game of his teammates. I know I got some baskets in high school because of that."

Reflecting on the weird microscope his former teammate is now under versus the pressures of being a medical student, Mr. Miglani noted, "The pressure he's under is much greater. I might struggle on a test, but it's nothing like having the city of New York riding on your back. I hope I can excel at medicine the way he has at basketball."

Posted on: Friday, March 16, 2012