Youngest Singler in the spotlight, too

While his older brother may be getting most of the attention these days, E.J. Singler has enjoyed a little limelight of his own after a successful freshman season on the Oregon men's basketball team.

The 6-foot-6, 210-pound forward was an honorable mention selection on the Pac-10 Conference All-Freshman team, and his status as a Duck in limbo as the university searches for a head coach to replace Ernie Kent has offered up plenty of attention alongside older brother Kyle Singler during the NCAA Tournament.

"He's getting hit up a lot," said Ed Singler, E.J's father. "He got a lot of that in Houston being around basketball people who knew who he was and where he played."

Singler averaged 6.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists during his first season at Oregon, starting 22 of 32 games at forward. He was honored at the Ducks' team banquet as the defensive player of the year and averaged the third-most minutes per game (24.5) for a young Oregon squad.

With the firing of Kent following the season, and subsequent rumors that the Ducks are interested in paying top dollar to bring the likes of Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh) or Tubby Smith (Minnesota) to Eugene, Singler finds himself in an interesting position.

The Ducks are also set to open the multi-million dollar Matthew Knight Arena for the 2010-11 season.

"Obviously Oregon's going after people with pretty good reputations," said Ed Singler. "He's going to come back to an interesting situation when he gets back in the swing of things (in Eugene). I think they're trying to find someone by this weekend, so it's going to be interesting to see what happens."

E.J. Singler is in Indianapolis with his family to watch the Final Four, featuring his brother's Duke Blue Devils.

"He's going to miss a couple classes but I think it's a great opportunity for him to see that," his father said.

The younger Singler was a topic of conversation this past weekend in Houston when his family traveled to the third and fourth rounds of the tourney. His buzzer-beating tip-in that sent Oregon into overtime and an eventual win over Washington State in the Pac-10 tournament gave him national notoriety as a top play of the day on ESPN's SportsCenter, but he quickly learned that his value went beyond that during the tourney.

"When Duke was playing California (in the second round of the NCAA tourney), a couple clips they had was of the Oregon-California (Pac-10 tourney) game when E.J. made a shot and a couple good plays," said Ed Singler, noting the freshman was congratulated by Duke assistant coaches Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski.

The spotlight grew even greater when he was singled out by legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski in the hallways of Reliant Stadium after the Blue Devils' Elite Eight triumph over Baylor.

"Of all things after the win against Baylor, Coach K comes out of the locker room and he could've gone strictly to the parents of any of the families or whoever and he came right to our little group and pointed E.J. out and said, 'E.J., we saw a couple clips from the California game and you're doing a great job and had a great year, keep up the great work.' I thought, man, what a thrill for him."

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or e-mail

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