Kyle Singler talks about his career on Tuesday at Kids Unlimited in Medford. - Julia Moore

Singler happy to be home

In one moment Tuesday afternoon, Kyle Singler summed up quite a bit in the life of the 24-year-old Medford standout.

Sharing a wry, easy-going smile beneath a fresh new haircut, Singler sat as comfortable as possible in a meeting room at Kids Unlimited and offered up a glimpse into his world that many likely could have presumed even before he opened his mouth.

"I'm happy with where I'm at," he said as his smile grew more broad.

Such a sentiment could be attributed to any number of aspects in Singler's life these days. From his personal growth while playing professionally in Spain to his recent contract agreement with the Detroit Pistons or simply running around his hometown after a near one-year absence, all things Singler are pretty darn good these days.

In the days leading up to his NBA debut with the Pistons at the Orlando Summer League, Singler spoke of wanting to make a good impression on his teammates and Detroit officials and then wanting to take some much-needed vacation time for himself.

He accomplished the former during pre-league practices in Detroit and a sensational showing in the Pistons' first three games in Florida, earning a three-year guaranteed deal worth $3.1 million with no options in the process.

The latter part is currently underway here in Medford and includes his role as co-host of the Cota-Singler Gala Auction Dinner at 6 p.m. Friday at Kids Unlimited as well as providing instruction at the Singler Summer Camp from 1-4 p.m. Saturday at Kids Unlimited.

Such plans may not sound like vacation time well-spent to some, but not for Singler.

"I wouldn't want to spend it any other way," he said of his active homecoming. "It keeps me busy putting on the tournaments and having the auction each year and now doing the camp, which is new this year."

"There really isn't much to do in Medford besides hanging out with friends and trying to help the community," added the former South Medford High and Duke University star, "and I'm really big on that because I have a really strong relationship here with a lot of people and the city has just been so good to me. I just want to continue doing anything I can to help the community in any way I can."

In reality, Singler said he wishes he could do even more.

"I think one thing that I get out of it is just being around kids here in Medford," he said of his continued volunteer efforts. "It's just special to be part of things like this for me."

"In an ideal sense," Singler added, "I would love to put on a two- or three-day clinic where we really get to plan it out because I remember going to some camps that were really well done like that when I was a kid and how much I enjoyed that. That's my idea for the future but, for now, putting a day-camp on is perfect."

It's also perfect for Singler to be getting back into basketball.

From training for the 2011 NBA draft to heading overseas to play in two of the top Spanish leagues, Singler has been going full-steam on the court without much of a break dating back to last June. Once the Orlando Summer League wrapped up on July 13, Singler was free to take some time for himself and get away from the game for a little while.

"The first two days are always great because you can really relax and not think about basketball for a little bit," he said of his vacation. "But after that first week or week and a half, you realize something's wrong, that I should be doing something and should be playing basketball."

After all, it's the game that means the most to him and has offered him many outstanding opportunities thanks to his hard work and all-around abilities on the court. Never content, Singler still thought he did enough to show that he belonged in the NBA with his play leading up to and during the summer league.

"I did OK, it wasn't lights out or I wasn't the best player there or anything," he said of his honest appraisal. "I did decent and had my moments, but I can always get better. I'm never going to be perfect but I think coming into Detroit I'm in a good place. I did well and showed the guys kinda what I can do. I've been away (in Spain) and I think some of those guys really didn't know if I could play anymore and forgot who I was a little."

Through the first three games, Singler averaged 10 points and three rebounds and played a team-high 321/2 minutes of the 40-minute games. His all-around abilities and comfort on the court endeared Singler to his teammates and summer league coach John Loyer, who commented how hard it was to take Singler off the floor.

Having seen enough of what Singler can provide, the Pistons opted to rest him over the final two days of the five-day league for a Detroit team that went 4-1.

"It was big to come in and play like that and I thought I gained a lot of respect from the guys," he said. "We had three or four veteran guys come down and practice with us before the summer league so that was a great experience, too."

Such a solid impression made it that much more important for the Pistons to secure Singler, whose playing career includes runs to the championship final at South Medford (state runner-up in 2006 and state champion in '07) and a Most Outstanding Player award when Duke won the NCAA crown in 2010. His Real Madrid team also advanced to the championship series last month before ultimately losing in the deciding Game 5 to FC Barcelona Regal.

"They were really impressed with what I did in Spain, they said it was uncharted," he said of negotiations with the Pistons. "They never really saw a rookie come into Europe and play well so that was different and they thought that playing in Europe and coming from a school like Duke with a lot of structure helped me develop as a basketball player more than just coming from college to the NBA."

Singler was able to leverage a little better deal from the Pistons than what the second-rounder likely would've received had he simply signed out of college as the No. 33 overall pick. Typically, players in his position receive two-year deals that are only partially guaranteed in the second year and include team options.

"Having that three-year deal makes me feel comfortable and it does show that they are committed with me," said Singler, who will next go to an NBA rookie symposium in mid-August and rejoin the Pistons in mid-September. "It's just a great situation for all of us and now I'll be able to just focus on working for playing time and go from there."

He's already secured an apartment in Michigan, although he's only seen it through online images, and has designs on expanding his offseason routine to include more tennis and golf. The latter is the only area where things aren't so great for Singler, although he's quick to quip that's only for now.

"My putting's awful — everything's awful — but I get there," he admitted with a laugh. "Once in a while I can hit a solid drive or fairway shot but it's not that bad overall."

So it seems that if locals want to give back to Singler these days, it's simply to be patient with that tall fellow hunched over the same clubs he's owned since he was a teenager.

"We're not pros so we're going to be slow, we're going to be looking for balls and driving the carts maybe not the right way," he said of recent outings. "We may have five people in a group and things like that but as long as we're respecting everyone else, hopefully it's all good."

Which, after all, is the theme of Singler's life these days.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488,, or

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