Duke's Kyle Singler Named ACC Rookie of the Year
March 11, 2008
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - From his first preseason practice at Duke, Kyle Singler was considered one of the Blue Devils' go-to players.
After a season in which he lived up to that billing and kept Duke in contention for a league title, Singler was named the Atlantic Coast Conference's Rookie of the Year Tuesday.
Singler received 44 of a possible 90 votes cast by members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. Wake Forest's James Johnson, who led the league's freshmen by averaging 14.8 points, was second with 30 votes and NC State's J.J. Hickson was third with 11.
"It means a lot - I put in a lot of hard work throughout the season," Singler said. "I feel very honored, but like any individual award, you kind of want to match it with a team award."
Singler, an overwhelming choice as the ACC's preseason rookie of the year, was the Blue Devils' second-leading scorer and ranked third among the league's freshmen, averaging 14.2 points and making 42 percent of his shots while carrying the burden of being thrust immediately into the lineup.
Hours before Duke's first practice of the preseason back in October, coach Mike Krzyzewski called Singler "our most well-rounded player as a freshman" and said Singler "is going to be a special player."
Then, by knocking down 3-pointers from the corner to stretch perimeter defenses and creating mismatches all over the court, the 6-foot-8 native of Oregon set out to prove Coach K right.
"There wasn't much pressure there," Singler said. "I was very confident from the very beginning that I could contribute to the team, do as much as I could do and do anything to help the team. Coach had a lot of confidence in me, and I share a lot of confidence in coach."
Singler emerged as one of the main beneficiaries of Duke's switch to a drive-and-kick offensive philosophy. He led the Blue Devils in scoring seven times, was the size-deficient team's leading rebounder 13 times, reached double figures in 24 of 30 games - only team captain DeMarcus Nelson (25) did it more often - and had four 20-point games.
"Kyle's been great for our team with his versatility and his talent," Nelson said. "It really fits in well with what we're doing. With (his) screening, and shaping up, and really stretching the defense out, and his perimeter shooting, it's been great."
Singler, the fifth Duke player named the league's top rookie and first since Chris Duhon in 2001, snapped North Carolina's stranglehold on the award. A Tar Heels player had claimed it in each of the last three years, with Golden State Warriors forward Brandan Wright winning it last year. Singler joins Jim Spanarkel (1976), Mike Gminski (1977), Gene Banks (1978) and Duhon as Blue Devils to win the award.
"He's probably played as well as any freshman I've had," Krzyzewski said.
The voting for the 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year, as determined by 90 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association:
Kyle Singler, Duke (44)