Thirteen points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist. Not exactly numbers that blow you away. Sometimes the numbers DO lie. Chris Singleton is the prime example.
Falling below the national radar a bit, the ATL-native had an outstanding all-around junior campaign for a Florida State team lost to eventual final four bound VCU in the first round of the dance. While he didn’t stand out in any particular facet of the game, the versatility that he brought to the table was unparalleled by anyone at the college level. If you want him to play small forward, he’s got you. Want him to guard your best big man, he’s got you there. The things that he brings to the table that don’t show up in the box score have made him a lottery pick, not the 13 points per game that he averaged.
Prepping for the Draft since his season ended, Singleton headed to ATTACK Athletics in Chicago to train with Tim Grover, Mike Procopio and Co. Grover and his staff have worked with guys such as MJ, Kobe and DWade on the regular and are considered by many to be the best trainers that this game has to offer to get you right for the NBA game. Grover’s right hand man, ATTACK Director of Basketball Operations Mike Procopio, put Chris and the rest of the guys in attendance through a series of rigorous workouts that took us from 10 a.m. to past 4 p.m. with a small break in between to grab some grub. Providence’s Marshon Brooks, Illinois freshman Jereme Richmond, Michigan State’s Durrell Summers, UIC’s Paul Turner, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson and Kentucky’s Kanter joined in the action.
Procopio started things off by having the players go through a series of simulated pick and pop drills, with the guards pulling a deep jumper and a passer ready to hit the big man popping out to the wing for a mid-range J. Everything was done at full speed, with Procopio barking out directions that weren’t exactly PG-13 that served a purpose both as motivation and instructionally. Procopio, a renowned expert on the NBA game, stressed creating the proper spacing and passing angles throughout the process to prepare players for the way that defenses would rotate.
From the pick and roll drills, the players went through a series of takes to the rim that stressed on being able to finish with either hand over the defense. The morning session ended with the players doing spot shooting from a stand-still from the five main spots from the NBA three-point line. Forty-five minutes in the weight room and an hour and a half for so for lunch, and the guys were back at it again for session two.
The second session stressed more on shooting off on the move, with the players sprinting to the corners/half court and catching the ball on the move. Like in the morning session, fundamentals were drilled in the players’ heads about keeping their elbows up and stepping into their shots properly. One dribble pull-ups and some more off-hand work followed, before concluding the workout with each player attempting 50 NBA three-pointers. The second session didn’t offer as many players (just Singleton, Brooks, Turner and Kanter) but offered considerably more intensity. The fellas were all cheering each other on and getting each other hyped, bringing together a sense of camaraderie while maintaining an intense competitive nature. The grueling shooting workout was great for Singleton, with the understanding that he’s going to be expected to knock down the corner 3 when left open.
While a workout like this certainly doesn’t cater towards Singleton’s strengths, the former McDonald’s All-American displayed a surprisingly higher skill level than you’ll see from watching him on tape. His outside jumper was absolutely effortless beyond the NBA 3 point arc for a guy who some label as a tweener. Shooting a respectable 37 percent from beyond the arc for the Seminoles this season, it’s not like we’re talking about a guy whose jumper was broke in the first place. It was merely better than we (and most other evaluators) gave him credit for.
Ball handling was the one area that is often questioned the most in Chris’ game and we got a chance to see him go through some pretty difficult drills with Grover. Depending upon what position that he winds up spending the majority of his time at in the league will determine how legit of a ball handler he is. Singleton was certainly working incredibly hard on keeping his head up and his handle tight, leaving one to believe that if he continues to work this hard that he will wind up being set by the time it’s all said and done.
What we were most excited to see with Chris was his ability to lock down on people up close in personal. Not coincidentally, he lived up to the hype with his versatility on the defensive end when probed to guard guys playing completely different positions out on the court. There were times throughout the day that he was asked to guard a potential combo guard (Marshon Brooks), a straight 2-guard who runs off a ton of screens (Durrell Summers), and a pure post (Enes Kanter). Singleton used his length and quickness to bother the perimeter guys, while doing a decent job of holding his own down low against the massive 265-pound Kanter.
6-9, 230 pounds, and able to legitimately defend three positions. Pretty impressive stuff, right? Sometimes the numbers DO lie and Chris Singleton is the prime example.