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12 Duke

There's no established go-to guy, but there is a freshman forward who's happy to fill the role

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'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



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

Nov. 27Wisconsin

Dec. 1Davidson


Dec. 8Michigan

Dec. 17Albany

Dec. 20Pittsburgh

(in New YorkCity)

Jan. 6Cornell

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.

Grade: C


Coach MikeKrzyzewski (28th yr.)

2006-07 record22-11

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.