TUALATIN, Ore. — On a day when the Portland Trail Blazers requested a command performance from a borderline NBA prospect, the team caught only a sneak peek of a pick who’s on the first-round bubble.
On Wednesday, E.J. Singler’s name appeared on the list of six players attending the Blazers’ pre-draft workouts. It seemed like a typo, because Oregon’s Singler had previously worked out with the team on June 7.
However, Singler returned upon request and gained the distinction as the only player the Blazers have asked back.
“I thought both (workouts) went well,” said the 6-foot-6 Singler, who averaged 10.9 points and 5.1 rebounds during his four years with the Ducks. “I don’t think one went better than the other. That’s how I pride myself in basketball, just being a consistent player. Not getting too high, not getting too low.”
Singler enjoyed his second time around but in the case of Archie Goodwin, the early NBA Draft entry candidate from Kentucky, he may want a do-over.
During one of the earliest workout drills, Goodwin took a tumble and landed on his right hip. Goodwin has already visited 14 other teams in the hopes of improving his stock that has fallen into the second round, according to the projections of DraftExpress.com.
The web site, a leading source for the NBA Draft, even has Goodwin slotted at the 39th pick which belongs to the Blazers. However, team officials only witnessed a pained and limited Goodwin, who said he didn’t feel like the same player who led the SEC in scoring (14.1 points) during his one-and-done season with the Wildcats.
“That slowed me down. I didn’t feel as fast as I wanted to,” Goodwin said of his right hip. “I didn’t feel as elusive as I usually do.”
Coincidentally, Singler and Goodwin matched up against one another throughout the session. A spot of Singler’s blood even dried onto Goodwin’s jersey — “yeah, sorry about that!” Singler said after realizing that he had left his mark.
Past the apologies, Singler operated as the happiest player in the practice facility.
Singler met with the media for more than 15 minutes — even longer than Duke’s 6-10 forward Mason Plumlee, a first-round lock — and gleefully described the circumstances that led him back to Portland.
On Tuesday, Singler was preparing to graduate from Oregon when his agent reached out.
“I had my cap and gown on and I got the call,” Singler said. “It was kind of a shock because I was in the college-graduating mode and I got the call and I had to come up here.”
Throughout the Blazers’ pre-draft process, the team has either brought in a lottery-pick player for an individual workout or an even-numbered group — four, but mostly six players for 3-on-3 purposes.
So, Singler — only having to make a short drive — could have been called in to fill out a six-man assembly for this 10th workout scheduled by the Blazers. After all, Singler has slim prospects of being drafted on June 27 and has already weighed the possibilities of beginning his career overseas.
Even so, Singler only viewed this second invitation as a positive sign that the team wanted to see more.
“That was the first thing I thought. They wouldn’t be calling me back if they didn’t like me. I was happy about that,” Singler said. “They definitely knew who I was a little bit more this time around and just being the guy that’s been here before, they’ve used my name: ‘Hey, you know how to do this drill. Go first, show them how to do it.’ So that was pretty good.”
After answering reporters’ questions, Singler, who will gladly put his psychology degree to use only after an NBA career, said that he had an afternoon meeting with the coaching staff.
Other players at the workout included 7-foot center Dewayne Dedmon (Southern California) and a pair of diminutive point guards Myck Kabongo (Texas) and Phil Pressey (Missouri). Kabongo and Pressey — the late second-round projected picks generously listed at 6-1 and 5-11, respectively — spent most of the workout matched up against one another.
With the NBA Draft only one week away, the Blazers will hold their 11th workout on Thursday morning.