Former South Medford standout and Duke University sophomore Kyle Singler has gone from the basketball court to the movie screen. Singler is part of a documentary, set to be released Friday, filmed at Harlem’s famed Rucker Park in 2006. Below is a card with nicknames given to Singler by Rucker Park announcer Bobbito Garcia.

Singler on the big screen

Kyle Singler just laughs off the notion that he's a movie star, but the Medford standout's name is up on the marquee for all to see these days.

Singler is one of eight basketball players featured in the movie "Gunnin' For That #1 Spot," a documentary chronicling the first "Elite 24" competition at Harlem's famed Rucker Park in 2006.

The movie is set for a limited release Friday in 13 cities, including Portland's Regal Fox Tower Stadium 10.

Also featured in the documentary, co-produced and directed by Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys fame, are Lake Oswego's Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Jerryd Bayless, Donte Green, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings and Lance Stephenson.

"We went through footage for quite a while but we're definitely proud of it and I think people will enjoy just seeing a real cool, unique slice of life of some special kids out there," said co-producer Jon Doran of Oscilloscope Laboratories.

Even though the film, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in May, has received positive reaction, Singler said he didn't give it much thought when put through the paces in the summer before his senior year at South Medford High.

"I didn't really think much about it because I didn't even think they were going to make a movie on it," said Singler, who currently is prepping for his sophomore year at Duke University. "I didn't even see a camera around so I don't know how they got most of their footage."

Singler said he's seen little bits and pieces of the movie, but that's about it.

"It is exciting, though," he added. "I'm actually excited to be able to watch it if I can (due to the limited release). If they don't play it in my area, I'll just have them send me a DVD or something of it."

Medford residents may find themselves in a similar wait-and-see stance when it comes to viewing the movie. Doran said there is a potential for "Gunnin' For That #1 Spot" to be released here locally, but only time will tell. At the very least, the group does plan on releasing a DVD at some point this summer.

"It is going to be in Portland, for sure," said Doran, "but there's still some auxiliary markets that will come off this very quick initial release. We just have to see how it does, whether we can bring it into smaller towns. Whether it does get into Medford, we're trying to coordinate that."

What film-goers can expect is about a six-minute profile of eight of the 24 top high school basketball players invited to the first "Elite" competition, as well as footage from the Sept. 1, 2006, game at Rucker Park.

"The game was a lot of fun," said Singler. "I think a lot of it was just because of the atmosphere. When you plays games on the AAU circuit it's usually just cramped gyms and places like that, but this time it was outside at a legendary park playing with people watching from the streets, hanging on the fences and things like that. It was just a lot of fun. All that provided a different vibe for the game."

Another different aspect was the running commentary provided by legendary Rucker announcer Bobbito Garcia, whose task it is to entertain the crowd while following the action — and to dole out nicknames as a right of passage for young ballplayers.

Those remembering the shaggy hairdo Singler rocked as a high school senior will understand why he was tagged with the nicknames "Shampoo" and "The Wig." With an all-over buzz since joining Duke last fall, Singler is more partial to Garcia's other chosen nickname of "Wireless." (Singler ... Cingular .. get it?).

"He put on quite a show," Doran said of Singler's performance in the all-star game, which involved no class distinction and no sneaker company affiliation. "He's a helluva ballplayer."

It was Singler's background and overall ability that led Yauch and company to want to feature him as one of the eight players singled out for the film.

"We focused on trying to choose players that were geographically and demographically different around the country," said Doran. "What drew attention to the two kids in the Northwest, Kyle and Kevin Love, obviously first and foremost was their game. But we also projected a unique demographic perspective, in addition to the unique friendship that those two guys have and courted coming up through the ranks there as buds."

"Kyle has such a wonderful, special family and history and legacy of sports in his family," added Doran, "so it's pretty easy to make him a part of it all."

Singler said he was interviewed back home after the game, as well as South Medford boys basketball coach Dennis Murphy and then-assistant Josh Jamieson, for the prospective movie. He also said his family provided a few clips of him playing basketball as a young kid, but isn't sure how much — if any of it — makes it into the film.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail

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