Singler Remains High On Duke

Considered one of the top five prospects in the class of 2007, South Medford (Ore.) High standout Kyle Singler has no shortage of major college coaches vying for his services. Before he takes the court for his junior season on the hardwood, the 6'8, 200lbs Singler is preparing for his junior season on the football field. TDD caught up with Singler to talk basketball, football, and recruiting. Check out the premium ticket for the complete story. You're moving from receiver to quarterback this year on the football team. What kind of adjustments will that entail for you?

Kyle Singler: The biggest thing is that I'm going to have to step into a leadership role, which I'm looking forward to. I'm more of a lead by example kind of guy, but having a couple years' knowledge of playing in this system, and with us having a lot of players coming back, it's making my transition much easier.

Has anything you've experienced playing football helped you on the basketball court?

The biggest thing I would say is just having a physical toughness. Playing such a violent game in football has helped me to learn to just get back up and keep playing hard.

Everyone knows about Kyle the athlete, what's life like away from the field and court?

I'm pretty laid back. I've got a girlfriend and some close friends. Other than that, I love playing board games -- my favorite game that I play with my family a lot is a puzzle game called Riddles. My family is also huge on athletics. There's a big athletic background in my family.

Can you elaborate on that background and how that influences you?

My family is huge on building character, so I try to surround myself with good people. With the athletic background, not a lot of people know that I actually started out playing hockey for my first sport, back when I lived in Salem. I played hockey for several years and loved it. We moved to where we are now and that's when I picked up basketball and football and started.

Over the past few years the West Coast has been turning out quite a few players getting national recognition. Is there any kind of rivalry or whatnot with everyone out there?

Being good friends with Kevin Love, both of us being top guys in our class, it isn't as huge a deal as you would think. The only thing it makes me want to do is just work harder, but I don't try and pay too much attention to it.

You were injured for most of the summer. What kind of effect did that have on you?

Oh man, I hated it. With the injury being a torn meniscus, I was in a straight leg brace for quite awhile and I really couldn't do anything. The rehab is going really awesome though, I'm ahead of schedule and I'm really looking forward to getting back to playing again.

You mentioned Kevin Love before, can you talk about your friendship with him?

Man, Kevin is a guy that I know personally, and I just love him. He's such a good guy, he works hard on his game, I've only known him for a few years, but we've got a real close friendship.

What was your reaction to the whole Nike situation with Kevin this summer?

That was really messed up -- what happened to him. I tried not to get involved with it. I just let Kevin know that I was there for him, tried to be as supportive as I could. I just don't understand why it had to happen; it wasn't fair to Kevin to go through that.

As his friend, I'm sure you've heard some of the negative spin-off of that situation.

I've heard those comments, and the only thing I can say is I know Kevin personally and some of the stuff that has been said about him I just don't understand. As far as his reaction, I don't know man, he's just so focused, it hasn't seemed to affect him or his game. He's a good guy and a hard worker in my book.

You were quoted early on in your recruitment by other services as saying Duke was a "dream school" for you. Can you clarify that?

Growing up, when I first got exposed to watching basketball on TV, Duke was always the team that I watched. Once I started playing, I used to think to myself that when I practiced, I was practicing to be a Blue Devil. I just love Coach K and the Duke program; they recruit good people and have good people around the program, which is something I really admire.

Now that you're being recruited by Duke, what's your relationship with their staff like?

We've got a great relationship, I talk a lot with Coach Wojo and Coach Collins. Both are really good people, and they care about me as a person. I mean, we hardly talk about basketball aside from how I'm doing with the season, other than that, they've just gotten to know me and my family.

Growing up, was there a favorite aspect of the program?

Aw, the Crazies are AWESOME, they are out of control, I love seeing a fan base like that just go nuts for their team. Who wouldn't want to play there?

What kind of pressure is there being one of the top players in your class?

It's such a huge amount of responsibility, which is something that my parents have prepared me for.

With the Top Five schools on your list being Duke, UNC, AZ, Kansas and Oregon, where do you stand in regards to unofficial or official visits?

Only Arizona and Kansas have talked with me about taking an unofficial visit to them. None of the other schools have really initiated those talks, but I know they are going to come.

With all but Duke offering you at this point, would their offering you change the landscape of your recruiting at this point?

It's important to me to take visits before I make a commitment. So, if Duke were to offer me, I would really want to have had a visit with them and then I would want to take some time to think about the decision. It would be really hard to turn them down though.

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