E.J. Singler Continues Family's Storied Legacy
By Haley Hirai
A lot can be said about E.J. Singler's character from the way he describes his older brother, Kyle. "He's a great brother," Singler said simply. "We're each other's best friends and worst critics. He'll always be there. He's always been my hero and I've always looked up to him."
As a sophomore forward for the Oregon men's basketball team, E.J. carries on the Singler family's storied athletic legacy. Kyle is a senior forward at Duke. His father, Ed, was a quarterback at Oregon State, where his mother, Kris, also played basketball. He has five uncles who also played sports at the Division I level.
Singler's close bond with his family is undeniable. One of the main reasons he chose to attend Oregon was so his parents and extended family would be able to watch his games.
In November, Oregon faced No. 1 ranked Duke and the whole Singler family traveled to Portland's Rose Garden Arena to cheer on both E.J. and Kyle in what was nicknamed "The Singler Mingler." Billboards around Portland read "Singler Minded" as the city prepared for the hometown boys from Medford, Ore., to play on the same court for the first time since they led South Medford High to a state championship in 2007.
"I'm not going to lie, it was really weird to see him on the opposite side, but it was definitely fun at the same time. We've always wanted to play each other," said Singler, who cites his brother as the best player that he's ever played with. "You definitely want Kyle on your team."
The Singler family loved watching their boys face off. "It was a little weird for them too, but they handled it well. It was hard for my mom and my sister to cheer against one of us. It was a fun time for my whole family," Singler said, laughing at the memories.
Singler grew up playing virtually every sport, although basketball was his first love. His passion for the sport also translates into loyalty to his team and school.
Five of his teammates left the program after last spring's coaching changes, but Singler stayed, a testament to his character and leadership abilities.
"I just knew this was the right place for me. I never really had a thought in my mind that I was ever going to leave. I knew Coach Altman and his staff would be a good fit for the team and me. I liked the way he constructs his program," he said.
Singler is stepping into a more vocal leadership role this season, a transition that he welcomes but is still adjusting to. "Our team is closer this year," he said. "We're trying to get a program going and have that connection with the teammates and the coaches."
Singler has a strong, athletic family off the court, and as an emerging team leader, he is building one on the court. He has high hopes for the Ducks' program this season.
"I've got my eyes on the Pac-10 championship," he said. "If you play out, anything can happen."