Panthers' Singler earns share of top Class 6A honor
So, how does Medford's first large-class boys basketball player of the year celebrate his award?
Certainly not by resting on his laurels.
South Medford senior Kyle Singler was back on the court Wednesday afternoon for a 90-minute workout that included everything from fastbreak dribbling to perimeter shooting to intense one-on-one duels with younger brother E.J.
"I'm just getting ready for the McDonald's (All-American) game and fine-tuning my skills," said the 6-foot-9 standout. "I took a week off after the (state) championship game, but I started back on Monday. There's always something you can work on."
It's that work-ethic and desire to hone his craft that has endeared Singler to basketball fans throughout the state, and a main reason he was named Class 6A co-player of the year with Lake Oswego's Kevin Love in voting released Wednesday.
The all-state voting is done by the state's 6A boys basketball coaches, and this year is the first since 1988 that two players have shared the top honor. That year, Grant's Terrell Brandon and Sunset's Kevin Harris were named co-players of the year.
"It's just a great honor to be awarded that with Kevin," said Singler, whose Panthers beat Love's Lakers 58-54 on March 10 for the 6A championship. "It's a very prestigious award and I'm just honored to be selected with great players like Kevin and all the others in the past."
Love's honor makes him the state's first three-time winner. The only other player to have won multiple player-of-the-year honors in the state's largest class is Freddie Jones, who accomplished the feat in 1997 and 1998 while at Sam Barlow High.
Singler averaged 29.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists during the regular season and capped his prep career as the sixth-highest scorer in state history (2,207 points), just behind Lake Oswego's Salim Stoudamire (2,219). He shot 66 percent from the field and 81 percent from the free-thow line. The Duke-bound standout also led the Panthers with 39 blocked shots and 17 defensive charges.
"I knew going into the season my hard work would pay off and it showed with our team success," said Singler. "Winning a state championship was priority No. 1, and it followed with player of the year."
Love, who was awarded the Naismith Trophy for the nation's top male prep player last week, averaged 33.9 points, 17 rebounds and about four assists and three blocks during the regular season. The 6-10, UCLA-bound post also became Oregon's all-time career scoring leader with 2,628 points, breaking a record set by Bob "Pudgy" Hunt of Knappa (2,584) from 1954-57.
Singler and Love will next take the national stage as teammates for the West squad in the 30th annual McDonald's All-American game at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky. The all-star boys basketball game will be televised live on ESPN next Wednesday at 5 p.m. (PDT).
"I'm very excited," Singler said of the game and having someone else bang around with Love in the low post. "It's a game that I've always watched growing up. It's just a terrific event and I'm just going to have a lot of fun with it. Kevin and I are on the same team again now, so we're going to have a lot of fun."
Joining Singler and Love on the all-state first team are Oregon City junior guard Brad Tinsley, Grant junior guard Paul McCoy and McKay senior guard Greg Plater.
South Medford head coach Dennis Murphy earned his second straight honor as coach of the year after guiding the Panthers to a 27-3 record and their first-ever state crown.
"Coach Murph was very deserving of the award," said Singler. "He's a very good coach and worked real hard to get us back to the championship game."
South Medford junior point guard Michael Harthun earned a repeat selection on the all-state second team, and is joined by former Medford player Clint Chapman (Canby), Blake Poole (Sheldon), Garrett Sim (Sunset) and Brady Martin (McMinnville).
Harthun averaged 20 points and 4.7 assists during the regular season for the Panthers, and was a driving force behind his team's run to the title. The 6-3 standout scored a team-high 24 points in the championship game — sinking all five of his 3-pointers — and ranked fourth in the state tourney at 20 points per game.
In the three-day state tournament, Harthun drained 69 percent of his shots from beyond the arc (9-for-13) and connected on 61 percent overall (20-for-33). His success rate during the regular season was 49 percent overall and 40 percent from 3-point range.
"There's no question that in other people's mind he should be deserving of first team," said Singler. "With second team you can't be ashamed of that, but he's a first-teamer in our hearts. Mike had a terrific year and won a state championship. In our hearts as South Medford Panthers, he's No. 1."
Player, School Yr. Ht. Pos.
Kyle Singler, South Medford Sr. 6-9 P
Kevin Love, Lake Oswego Sr. 6-10 P
Greg Plater, McKay Sr. 6-3 W
Paul McCoy, Grant Jr. 6-1 G
Brad Tinsley, Oregon City Jr. 6-4 G
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR — Kyle Singler, South Medford, and Kevin Love, Lake Oswego.
COACH OF THE YEAR — Dennis Murphy, South Medford.
Michael Harthun, S. Medford Jr. 6-3 G
Clint Chapman, Canby Sr. 6-11 C
Blake Poole, Sheldon Sr. 6-5 C
Garrett Sim, Sunset Jr. 6-0 G
Brady Martin, McMinnville Sr. 6-5 F
HONORABLE MENTION — Andy Poling, Westview, Jr., 6-11, P; Kevin Chalmers, Jesuit, Sr., 6-2, G; Kevin Reynolds, Lincoln, Sr., 6-3, F; Brian Barkdoll, Central Catholic, Sr., 6-9, P; Ernie Spada, Lake Oswego, Sr., 6-0, G; Ameer Shamsud-Din, Benson, Jr., 6-2, G; Andrew Jones, Westview, Sr., 6-2, W; Michael Wohlers, Gresham, Sr., 6-1, W; Jonny Brainard, Canby, Sr., 6-0, G; Brent McKee, Sheldon, Sr., 6-6, F; Cameron Marshall, South Eugene, Sr., 6-6, W.
Player, School Yr. Ht. Pos.
Sam Child, Tualatin Sr. 6-0 W
Lauren Wilkins, Jesuit Sr. 6-2 P
Kelly Marchant, Oregon City Sr. 5-8 W
Kendra Little, Sheldon Sr. 5-11 W
Michelle Jenkins, Southridge Jr. 6-3 P
PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Sam Child, Tualatin.
COACH OF THE YEAR — Kathy Adelman Naro, Jesuit.
Kate Lanz, Central Catholic So. 5-10 G
Margaret Johnson, L. Oswego Sr. 5-11 F
Anna Marchbanks, McKay Jr. 5-8 F
Kalie Scanlon, West Salem Sr. 5-9 G
Kelsey Goodell, Lincoln Jr. 5-11 W
HONORABLE MENTION — Alex Earl, Southridge, Jr., 5-10, G; Becky Goll, Central Catholic, Sr., 6-0, W; Renee Tzeo, Reynolds, So. 5-4, G; Sallye Alexander, Forest Grove, Sr., 6-5, P; Jacklin Nared, Westview, Jr., 6-1, W; Rachel Scarpelli, Reynolds, Jr., 5-8, G; Becky Buhler, Clackamas, Jr., 6-1, P; Jessica Musgrave, Grant, Sr., 5-8, W; Tara Cook, Grant, Sr., 5-6, G; Emily Hatch, Lake Oswego, Sr., 6-2, P.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail email@example.com