As basketball fans throughout the country are being swept up by "Linsanity," a contingent of Bay Area residents from New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin's Palo Alto past is heading east to cheer him on.
Peter Diepenbrock, Lin's former basketball coach at Palo Alto High School, is among them and is preparing for a weekend he says will include sitting courtside at Madison Square Garden and rubbing elbows with filmmaker Spike Lee.
In fact, he says, Lee will be wearing Lin's former high school jersey after hearing a comment Diepenbrock made on a New York sports radio show on Monday.
In an interview on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio, Diepenbrock revealed his plans to fly to New York this weekend.
"I'm trying to get Jeremy's high school Jersey on Spike Lee," he told the interviewer. "That's my goal this weekend."
He said that a few minutes after he hung up the phone, the show called him back and told him Lee had been listening and had called in, saying he was willing to don the jersey.
"It was unbelievable," Diepenbrock said. "The timing was incredible."
Diepenbrock is leaving for New York on a red-eye on Saturday night, but former Palo Alto High School player Chris Bobel flew out Thursday and will deliver the jersey.
Also in Lin's cheering section will be several of his high school teammates and his former shooting coach Doc Scheppler.
Diepenbrock, who has been inundated with requests for media interviews in recent weeks, said he is thrilled with Lin's success.
"It couldn't have happened to a nicer kid," he said. "I just couldn't be happier for him. He's my boy."
Lin, who has been sleeping on his brother's couch, is moving into his own place at Trump Tower, Diepenbrock said.
He said he talks to Lin daily by phone or text, and that he seems to be handling his sudden fame well.
"I'm sure he's a little overwhelmed, but at the same time he's a very confident guy," Diepenbrock said.
Diepenbrock will attend Knicks games on Sunday and Monday, and is looking forward to seeing Spike Lee wear Lin's old jersey.
"It'll probably be a little bit big for him," he said, although he noted that Lin, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall, has filled out considerably since high school.
There is even a rumor that President Obama will be at Sunday's game, but the White House would not confirm that Thursday.
Bay City News