Delay the Kyle Singler farewell tour until next April. He’s coming baaack…
We’re officially two weeks removed from Duke’s fourth national championship, and already we’ve received good news about the 2010-2011 Blue Devils: Kyle Singler is coming back for his senior season. This post was supposed to be about Kyle’s brilliant performance in the NCAA tournament (save the Baylor game), but we decided to delay it until he made his decision on the NBA. Now that he has made it, we are undoubtedly (and selfishly) happy that he made the choice that he did.
By averaging 20 points and 9 rebounds in the Final Four, Kyle Singler was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA’s final weekend. Furthermore, Singler played sound defense on West Virginia’s DaSean Butler (10 points, 2-8 shooting) and Butler’s Gordon Hayward (12 points, 2-11 shooting) in the Final Four. He displayed a polished offensive game with an array of three-pointers, floaters and tough layups in traffic along with his consistent intensity on defense and loose balls.
Kyle Singler is both one of the most talented and one of the toughest players to ever put on the Duke uniform. His father, Ed, when discussing Kyle’s draft prospects, said, “[NBA scouts] are not even questioning his heart or character or work ethic and skill level, those are pretty evident when seeing Kyle play.” The injuries from Singler’s tough play have become almost legendary: the elbow he ate from Andre Dawkins in a practice before the Sweet 16 game against Purdue that required stitches; the black eye that he played with in February victories over Miami and Virginia Tech; and who could forget, his dive into ESPN announcer Dan Shulman during the ACC tournament that gave Dickie V sole possession of the broadcast for a whole two minutes. All cliches aside, he really does wear his playing scars like badges of honor.
GoDuke notes that Singler has scored the third most points ever (1767) in Duke history through his junior season. Only two of the greatest Blue Devils of all-time, Jason Williams (2079) and JJ Redick (1805) scored more points before their senior season. Singler could conceivably be the third leading scorer in Duke history by this time next year, a spot currently held by Christian Laettner (2460). Regardless of what he accomplishes next season, Kyle Singler already has one ring, something not even the two highest scorers (Redick and Johnny Dawkins) in Duke history can boast of.
We’re not here to speculate whether Kyle would have been a first-round lock or a possible second-rounder if he declared; we’re also not here to speculate what his draft stock might become. We’re here to appreciate the fact that two of our starters, two of the guys that made up the Big Three, are returning. Next year’s team will undoubtedly be captained by Singler and Nolan Smith. Singler was the No. 6 recruit in a 2007 class whose top 5 recruits were lottery picks in 2008 (remember Kyle’s Oregonian rivalry with Kevin Love?). Whereas those five were all one-and-done, staying all four years speaks volumes about Kyle’s love of college life and his wish to leave a stellar legacy at Duke. It says nothing about his ability to play in the NBA—he will be an NBA player (a damn good one at that). Leave the conjecture about Kyle’s NBA future alone; just appreciate that #12 will be back in Cameron for one more ride.