Hot-shooting Singler a good sign for Duke
Posted February 5, 2010
After his team’s win over Florida State just more than a week ago, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski answered a postgame question about the luxury of having three players, in Nolan Smith, Jon Scheyer, and Kyle Singler, capable of carrying a team on the offensive end of the floor on any given night.
He joked that the team hadn’t felt very luxurious just yet because all three players hadn’t clicked very often on the same night.
Despite Nolan Smith’s modest point total of 14 in Thursday night’s 86-67 win over Georgia Tech, Coach K had to be feeling pretty darn good about things.
That’s because Kyle Singler, the one player out of the triumvirate that hadn’t had a signature night since Duke’s loss to Wisconsin early in the season, officially broke out of whatever shooting slump he might have been in.
Minutes after seemingly re-injuring a wrist that he initially hurt against Wake Forest, Singler began hitting three after three in a performance that brought back memories of former Blue Devil All-American J.J. Redick.
The Oregon-native hit on eight of his ten three-point attempts on his way to a 30-point night – simultaneously quelling all fears of what another whack to the wrist might mean for the 6-foot-8 forward and shooing away all concerns about what had been plaguing the shooting stroke of the preseason ACC Player of the Year.
When Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith play well, Duke is a potential conference champion and a threat to make the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
If Singler is on as well, the Blue Devils become a Final Four contender.
At his best, the versatile swingman is the toughest matchup in the ACC - a rare combination of size, ball-handling, basketball acumen and scoring prowess.
During his first two collegiate campaigns, Singler’s ability to knock down the three forced defenders to play him tight on the perimeter – that opened up driving opportunities, often against players that were taller and slower.
This year, his inaccuracy from beyond the three-point line allowed defenders to sag off of him and cut off the driving lanes he had become so accustomed to exploiting as a freshman and sophomore.
Duke spent much of its practice time since last weekend’s loss to Georgetown working on its motion offense – a scheme the coaching staff felt would create better opportunities for Singler to score.
By the time the clock hit 0:00 Thursday night, Singler had thanked his coaches by giving future opponents eight reasons to respect his shot once again.