Blazers give Singler a look

Duke star wouldn’t mind playing in home state

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter

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TUALATIN, Ore. — Kyle Singler was born and raised in Oregon, but was not a Trail Blazers fan growing up.

Now, the forward from Duke is hoping the Blazers are fans of him.

The former Final Four Most Outstanding Player was one of four attendees at Portland’s pre-draft workout at the team’s practice facility Friday, and while Singler has been thoroughly scouted, he continued to impress.

“He’s going to be a solid pro,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “He finds ways to win. He’s been winning since he was in high school and throughout his college career.”

As of Friday, NBA Draft Express projects Singler to be the 24th pick of the draft, which takes place June 23. The Blazers pick at No. 21.

The 23-year-old considered declaring for the draft last year before deciding to return to Duke for his senior season. That might not have been the best idea.

While Singler’s 16.9 points per game were just 0.8 points fewer than that of his junior season, his .321 percentage from 3-point distance was 0.78 points lower. He admitted Friday that he needs to work on his consistency, but asserts that shooting is still one of his strong points.

As for the idea of playing in Portland?

“I would love it. I know my family would love it too,” Singler said. “It’s close to home, but I’m not too picky on where I go.”

Blazers acting general manager Chad Buchanan said one of the bigger question marks with Singler is figuring out whether he’d be better suited as a small forward or power forward, although McMillan currently sees him as a 3.

But Singler’s hype has extended beyond his collegiate glory and draft projections. He has also become somewhat of a YouTube sensation with two videos entitled “Kyle Gets Buckets,” in which Singler can be seen nailing shots from the bleachers, the top of chapels — even while jumping off of a platform into a pool.

“The videos only took about two to three hours to shoot,” said Singler.

He added that his field-goal percentage was pretty decent …except for the shot into the pool.

“That would took me about 30 tries.”

Matt Calkins can be contacted at 360-735-4528 or email matt.calkins@columbian.com