South Medford senior E.J. Singler has spent most of his basketball career in the shadow of older brother Kyle, now a standout sophomore at Duke University.

South Medford senior E.J. Singler has spent most of his basketball career in the shadow of older brother Kyle, now a standout sophomore at Duke University.

But on Tuesday, younger brother earned an honor older brother never did.

E.J. Singler was named the 2008-09 Gatorade Oregon Boys Basketball Player of the Year, an award that recognizes athletic performance, academic achievement and exemplary character.

Singler led the Panthers (21-8) to a share of the Southwest Conference title and a sixth-place finish at the Class 6A state tournament. The SWC player of the year averaged 21.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, five assists, 1.4 blocks and one steal per game.

He carries a 3.66 GPA and has volunteered with the Kids Unlimited non-profit organization.

"He was the best player I saw in Oregon this season by far," Lake Oswego coach Mark Shoff said in a release. "His tenacity to win separates him. He's a winner. He does whatever it takes — rebound, bring the ball up, score. He's the guy they go to when they're down. Defensively, he has the toughest guard on the other team. He's an all-around player. He was able to carry that team and get to the final eight. We just tried to slow him up, and even with that he still had 25 points."

Singler, who is headed to the University of Oregon, is now a candidate for the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced later this month.

Oregon City's Brad Tinsley was the most recent recipient of the Gatorade Oregon Boys Basketball Player of the Year honor. Lake Oswego's Kevin Love won the award the two previous years.

Singler is the first boys basketball player from South Medford to win the award.

Reach reporter Luke Andrews at 776-4469, or e-mail landrews@mailtribune.com