Duke's Kyle Singler Faces Win-Win Decision

Mike KlineAnalyst IApril 13, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 05:  Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates after Duke won 61-59 against the Butler Bulldogs during the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kyle Singler cannot lose.

The junior forward for the Duke Blue Devils hasn't been able to wipe the smile off his face since leading his team to a National Championship last Monday night.

With the sheen of the Blue Devils' victory barely in the rearview mirror, Singler now has to decide whether he will forgo his senior season in favor of millions of dollars and the NBA dream.

The good news for Singler is he can't lose whichever way he decides.

He is slated to participate in a conference call with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and his parents on Tuesday. From there he says he will make a decision on the NBA draft sometime this week.

Singler has said there will be no testing the waters for him and that if he declares he is gone.

Prior to the NCAA Tournament Singler was projected as a second round pick. Now many NBA mock drafts are saying he could go anywhere from middle to late first round thanks to a great performance in the tournament aside form one bad outing against Baylor.

Chances are that if he can get a guarantee that he will go first round that he is gone. Anything less than first round, Singler admits, isn't really worth it.

Most figure Singler will not improve on his draft position if he stays one more year. He is not the most athletic player but he does many things well and is as tough as nails.

The question is will his game translate to the NBA?

Singler is projected to play small forward in the NBA and he has only had a year at Duke to adjust to that position. He still needs to work a bit on his mid-range game as he will most likely not be able to bang down low with the bigs in the league.

Another year at Duke will allow him to work on those things, but a year or two in the NBA will allow him to work on those things full-time and get paid.

In many ways Singler is in a similar position to Gerald Henderson, although Henderson was a lottery pick.

The only thing that will probably keep Singler at Duke besides a lack of a first round guarantee is his desire to stay in school.

A better comparison for Singler may be North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough, who basically saw no risk in his draft stock by staying another year. He did so because he loved the college experience.

Does Singler love the college experience? Probably so, but unlike Hansbrough, he can leave after his junior year with the one thing most coveted by any college player: a National Championship.

Duke fans would love to see Singler back and leading the team as a senior. The tough-minded forward typically wore that toughness on his face, arms, and legs in the fashion of black eyes, wrist braces, cuts, and bruises.

It would be almost fitting for Singler to go out now on top. Even more fitting is that his last play in a Duke uniform would be him getting laid out by a vicious screen in the final seconds of the National Championship game.

Even that couldn't wipe away that wry smile so many Dukies learned to love and would love to see again for one more season.

But in interviews with an Oregon newspaper, Singler spoke in the past tense about his time at Duke and in a post game interview after the Blue Devil's victory over West Virginia teammate Nolan Smith said he didn't want that to be Kyle (Singer), Jon (Scheyer), and Lance's (Thomas) last game.

Perhaps he knows something we don't. In either case, Singler won't hurt himself if he stays or goes, so yet again he is a winner all the way around.