Singler says Duke stay was a help

Staff writerMay 22, 2011 

— It was relayed to Duke's Kyle Singler Friday that ESPNU's coverage of the upcoming draft listed age as his "weakness."

This was the umpteenth time at the NBA Draft combine that someone insinuated a college senior is a freak in this process.

"I don't regret it," Singler said of staying at Duke four years. "If that's my 'weakness,' then I must be pretty good."

Singler feels no need to apologize for bucking the trend of turning pro early. At 22, he has his degree, in visual arts, and he'll likely be drafted late in the first round or early in the second on June 23.

There's speculation he might have gone higher a year ago, coming off a starring role on Duke's national championship team. Singler isn't sure that's true and said he doesn't particularly care.

"I really don't mind if that's what people think. This was my decision and I did it for my own reasons," Singler said. "It might hurt them (turning pro too early), and it might hurt me (staying four years).

"It was definitely a temptation to go out on top," a year ago, Singler said. "But that was not my course. There were other factors."

Singler says with conviction that he's a better player now than he was then, particularly on defense. He says the collective experiences over the last year - guarding Kevin Durant on the select team that scrimmaged Team USA, then working through a midseason shooting slump - taught him to be a problem solver.

Asked the best thing he offers an NBA team, Singler said the shooting range to space a floor. Also, he believes the way Duke approaches the game - mostly man-to-man defense and a pro-style pick-and-roll game - prepared him better than most here to adapt to the next level.

"Lots of man, so you know the way the pros play," Singler said. "At Duke, you're expected to play both ends of the court. That has to get you better ready for this."

rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com or 704-358-5129

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