Last March 10,when Kyle Singler led South Medford High past Lake Oswego (and top prospectKevin Love) for the Oregon Class¬†6A championship, Singler startedalongside his younger brother, E.J., while two of his cousins, Mitch Singlerand Griffin Boyd, began the game on the bench. The gene pool that producedKyle, a 6' 8" forward and rivals.com's No.¬†5 prospect in the class of2007, is particularly rich. His dad, Ed, was a quarterback at Oregon State; hismother, Kris, played basketball for the Beavers; and four of his uncles and onecousin played Division¬†I football or basketball. In the bustling city ofMedford, Singler is a member of the first family of sports.
Kyle left theflock in July to join the Blue Devils' clan in Durham, where he's the mostanticipated member of a blue-chip recruiting class. Following an unremarkable22-10 season and a first-round loss to VCU in the NCAA tournament, no one atDuke is interested in Singler's being deferential to his elders. Sophomoreguard Jon Scheyer, with whom Singler has already bonded over a shared affinityfor Prison Break and The Office, told his new teammate, "Don't act like afreshman, because you don't play like one."
Indeed, on asmall-ball squad with no go-to guy, Singler is both the tallest starter (tiedwith Lance Thomas) and the one with the most versatile skill set, a blend ofinterior grit and perimeter grace. "Our best teams have always had a 6'8" or 6' 9" guy like him, who can create matchup problems," saysassistant coach Chris Collins, citing a list of former Duke stars who fit thebill: Grant Hill, Roshown McLeod, Shane Battier, Mike Dunleavy, Luol Deng. WhatSingler definitely is not is the next Christian Laettner; he exudes noarrogance, and as assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski says, "Nothing hedoes is for show."
The challenge ofmaking an immediate impact doesn't faze Singler. "There really isn't asuperstar [on the team], so no one has egos, and you can let your game speakfor itself," he says. "There's no pressure on me not to shoot, so whynot do it?"
6'‚Äà5"Soph.12.2 ppg3.3 rpg
*HIGH SCHOOL STATS
Nov. 9 NorthCarolina Central (W 121-56)
Nov. 12 NewMexico State
Nov. 19-21 MauiInvitational (vs. Princeton; plus Arizona State, Chaminade, Illinois, LSU,Marquette, Oklahoma State)
Nov. 25 EasternKentucky
(in New YorkCity)
Jan. 9 atTemple
Feb. 23 St.John's
Indiana and Michigan State are tops in the Big¬†Ten; the Blue Devils getWisconsin in the ACC/Big¬†Ten Challenge. Georgetown and Louisville are BigEast powers; Duke will play Pitt and St. John's. There's no must-see TV here,just more fodder for those who believe this It program is slipping.
Coach MikeKrzyzewski (28th yr.)
ACC record 8-8(T-6th)
NCAA tournament1st round
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HARD TO HANDLE Like many a past Blue Devils star, Singler can be a matchup nightmare.