How many Oregon freshmen have been as familiar with McArthur Court before their first college game as E.J. Singler?
For four consecutive years when Singler was at South Medford High School, the Panthers advanced to the state tournament at Mac Court, and each year played three games, winning a state title when he was a sophomore and older brother Kyle was a senior.
"It's fun being back here," Singler said Wednesday during Oregon's session with the media to preview the season. "It definitely feels comfortable. It's kind of like my high school court here.
"You feel really good when you play in this gym. You feel like you're connected to the fans, it's loud, it has a lot of history."
History resonates from Singler as well. He comes from a family where not only both parents and an older brother know first-hand about college athletics, but cousins, uncles and grandfathers have gone through some similar experiences.
"They're such a neat family," UO coach Ernie Kent said. "They're not only good people, but you can see the athleticism within the family, and their knowledge of (sports)."
The Singler family tree branches widely over athletics both in southern Oregon and at the collegiate level.
E.J.'s mother, Kris, played basketball at Oregon State and his father, Ed, was a starting quarterback for the Beavers after starring for then-Medford High School. Bill Singler, an uncle to E.J., was a receiver at Stanford and now is the head football coach at South Medford High School, where E.J. was an all-state player as a receiver and linebacker.
There are four other uncles, brothers of E.J.'s mother, who also played collegiately, three of them at Oregon after graduating from Klamath Union High School. Rick Brosterhous lettered in basketball at Oregon, where brothers Greg and John lettered in football and Greg also played baseball. Another of those brothers, BG, played basketball at the University of Texas and then professionally in Europe for two decades.
E.J.'s two grandfathers are George Brosterhous, who played basketball at Oregon, and Bill Singler, who excelled in track and field at Medford when the head coach was Bill Bowerman.
A great-grandfather on the Brosterhous side was an all-state player at Bend High School as well.
In E.J.'s generation, in addition to his brother Kyle, a junior at Duke, there is a cousin playing football at Oregon State, and another cousin who plays baseball for the Beavers and has a brother playing community college baseball and considering enrolling at Oregon next year. An older cousin of E.J.'s played women's basketball at OSU.
Imagine those family reunions.
"It definitely gave me the competitiveness," Singler said. "When we got together as families we were always doing something competitive or playing some kind of sport.
"Being part of a sports family, you have to be competitive or you get lost in the shuffle."
With that kind of background growing up, it's easier to understand how Singler was able to come out of the shadow of older brother Kyle, a state player of the year who was recruited by several national powers before choosing Duke.
E.J. is three inches shorter at 6-foot-6 and didn't receive the national acclaim of his older brother, but the Ducks had to fend off Stanford and Washington State to sign him.
"When he really blossomed was when Kyle left (for college)," Kent said. "E.J. came into his own and took over the program.
"I saw a player really start to dominate in his junior year, and then as a senior he became the man."
Singler was the state player of the year as a senior, averaging 21.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists for South Medford. He upped those averages to 26.8 points and 11.7 rebounds at the state tournament.
Kent compared Singler to former Ducks A.D. Smith and Maarty Leunen, both as in-state players and for their on-court intelligence.
"The biggest thing now is for him to get stronger," Kent said. "He's a very smart player and a tough competitor. He just knows how to play the game."
In that family, how could he not?
"When we get together, we're always talking about basketball," Singler said.
"It's really cool to play where one of my uncles played, and hopefully I can lengthen the legacy."
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|Title Annotation:||Basketball Oregon Men|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Oct 15, 2009|
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