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MailTribune.com
  • It's OK being E.J.

    Younger brother of Panther star Kyle Singler is creating his own niche on the hardwood
  • Edward Jeorge Singler ponders the question — what's it like being Kyle Singler's little brother? — as if he's heard it a thousand times before.
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    • e.j. singler
      who: A 6-foot-5 sophomore post for second-ranked South Medford and the younger brother of Panther standout Kyle Singler.
      u of note: Is shooting 55 percent from the field and 78 percent from free...
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      e.j. singler
      who: A 6-foot-5 sophomore post for second-ranked South Medford and the younger brother of Panther standout Kyle Singler.

      u of note: Is shooting 55 percent from the field and 78 percent from free-throw line, while collecting 6.1 rebounds per game and drawing the tough defensive assignments.
  • Edward Jeorge Singler ponders the question — what's it like being Kyle Singler's little brother? — as if he's heard it a thousand times before.
    Leaning against a wall in the South Medford High locker room, the soft-spoken sophomore smiles and says: "I am so proud of him for all that he's done, but I am comfortable being me."
    One might think it's difficult being the younger brother of a 6-foot-9, 215-pound phenom who's considered among the very best high school basketball players in the country. A player who is headed to Duke University on a full scholarship. A player who averages nearly 30 points, dunks in his sleep and routinely takes over games for the state's No. 2-ranked Class 6A team.
    But while the adulation, publicity and recruitment pendulums have swung Kyle Singler's way — being two years older helps — the two brothers always have been equals in the Singler household. To parents Ed and Kris Singler, passing the potatoes at the dinner table can earn you just as many points as passing the basketball in the backyard. And passing on your homework can draw just as much ire.
    "E.J. and I have fought like all brothers do — for the couch, the TV, the front seat in the car — but we're a tight-knit family and we've been taught that we can be whatever we want to be if we put our mind to it and work for it," Kyle Singler says. "E.J. is creating his own journey, his own path."
    On a South Medford team that meets Grant in the first round of the 6A state tournament Thursday at Eugene's McArthur Court, E.J.'s niche as a 6-5, 190-pound post has been to crash the boards, play tenacious defense, pass the ball to his brother and junior point guard Michael Harthun, and hit open shots.
    Head coach Dennis Murphy says no one in his 32 years of coaching has played a role more precisely than E.J. Singler.
    "He does exactly what he's asked to do," Murphy says. "He could certainly score more, and sometimes he's almost too unselfish with the ball, but he does all the little things that win basketball games. And, even though he's a quiet kid, he's very much a competitor."
    E.J. Singler averages just 7.1 points per game, but he's shooting 55 percent from the field and 78 percent from the free-throw line. More importantly, he's ripping down 6.1 rebounds per game and he often draws tough defensive assignments.
    One of those assignments came during South Medford's 77-59 win over Oregon City in a state tournament play-in game last Saturday. The younger Singler held Oregon City's Jared Cunningham, a 6-9 senior standout, to just five points through the first three quarters. Cunningham finished with 19, but 11 came in the game's final four minutes when E.J. Singler wasn't guarding him and the outcome had long been decided.
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