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Hoop star Singler in no hurry to commit to a college

Prep Notebook

It looks as though the Kyle Singler recruiting show will go on for several more months.

Singler, the South Medford High basketball standout who's among the top junior recruits in the country, said Monday that he won't make a verbal commitment to the college of his choice until sometime in the fall.

The 6-foot-8 forward is leaning toward UCLA and Duke but remains interested in Kansas and Arizona.

Singler said he'll likely make official recruiting visits to all four schools once his senior year at South Medford begins in September.

I want to make the right decision ' this is obviously a big deal in my life, says Singler, who indicated earlier he would make a verbal commitment by the end of the current school year. I've decided that I really should make some official visits and see what these schools are all about.

— That explains why Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, UCLA coach Ben Howland, Arizona coach Lute Olson and Kansas coach Bill Self all made trips to Medford within a two-week period last month. Each has met with Singler in his hometown at least twice.

The all-expenses paid, official visits can't occur until a player's senior year. Singler also plans to make an unofficial visit to the University of Washington on June 14. He'll be in Portland that day for a Nike skills camp and will head to Seattle when it's over.

Right now I'm not counting out anyone, Singler says.

Singler can't sign a letter-of-intent, the document that officially binds a player to a school, until November.

Singler has been starring for the Portland Legends AAU team this spring. Although the touring squad hasn't fared as well as it did last year when Lake Oswego standout Kevin Love was on it (he's now playing for a team in Southern California), Singler has stepped up his game.

We're missing a true big man but I've been the main go-to guy and so it's benefited me, Singler says. I'm being more aggressive with the ball and I've got to play all five positions.

Singler will head to Nashville, Tenn., for another AAU tournament next week. In late June he'll try out for a national U18 team coached by Washington's Lorenzo Romar. That team will feature college freshmen as well as high school seniors.

Singler said he expects next season's South Medford team to again challenge for a state championship even though three other college recruits ' Brent Johnson, Kendall Gielow and Myles Daley ' will have graduated.

Standout point guard Michael Harthun will join Singler and his younger brother, E.J., as the top returnees.

We won't be as big but I think we'll be quicker and get up the floor faster, Kyle Singler says. We'll be putting in some new stuff (plays) that will take advantage of Michael and me.

FORMER ST. MARY'S HIGH basketball standout Garrett Fiddler has caught the attention of Stanford University coaches, Crusaders coach Rick Jackson says.

Fiddler, a 6-foot-8 center who moved to Colorado last year, is playing on an AAU all-star team that recently played in Las Vegas. Stanford assistant coach Donny Guerinoni was impressed with Fiddler and called Jackson, who he thought was still Fiddler's coach.

He (Guerinoni) said he was surprised how mobile Garrett was for his size and that he was defending some of the big kids really well who have already signed (to play at Division I universities), Jackson says. They (Stanford) wanted to invite him to their high potential big man's camp.

Fiddler, who is finishing up his junior year at Thomas B. Doherty High in Colorado Springs, led Colorado high school players in blocked shots last season with 150. It was the fourth-highest total in Colorado state history, Jackson says.

He has long arms and great timing ' he has a knack for blocking shots, Jackson says.

SOPHOMORE SHORTSTOP Zack Earle had committed only two errors in North Medford's first 17 games, and so the Black Tornado coaches figured something must have been amiss when Earle committed five miscues during a doubleheader against Klamath Union on April 30.

It was. A week earlier, Earle broke his hand in PE class when he inadvertently struck another boy's head after throwing a ball during a game called speed ball.

I hit my hand on his head during the follow-through, Earle says.

Earle played three games at shortstop before visiting his doctor, who confirmed there was a fracture and fitted Earle with a temporary cast. Earle takes it off during games and tapes up his hand, but he's limited to designated hitter duties. Dustin Shipley is now playing shortstop.

Reach reporter Don Hunt at 776-4469, or e-mail Hoop star Singler in no hurry to commit to a college"dhunt@mailtribune.com.