HOOPS: How Singler offer fits into the mix

E.J. SINGLER

WITH TWO HOOPS VERBAL commitments in the fold, how many more might the Cougars take for this class? What was the catalyst behind the Cougars' offer to Oregonian E.J. Singler and why was Wazzu center Fabian Boeke part of the equation? And what was Tony Bennett recently doing in Europe? Answers to these questions plus much more..

Tony Bennett recently returned stateside from a five-day trip to Serbia, where he and assistant Matt Woodley took part in arguably the biggest coaching clinic held in Europe.

Could Bennett have his eye on more prospects from the basketball-rich country? The Cougs signed junior-to-be Nikola Koprivica out of Belgrade as part of their 2006 class, and the 6-6 forward is currently starring on Serbia's under-20 national team this summer.

Numbers and needs in recruiting can change from one day to the next and based on a large number of variables, but CF.C projects the Cougars will 1) take two more players this class to go along with Spokane SG Anthony Brown and California PG Xavier Thames who have already verballed and b) at least one of those two will be a big man.

One of many possible scenarios: the Cougs take a tough, 6-foot-10-ish power type, along with a defensive-minded guard like E.J. Singler. The 6-foot-6 Medford native was recently offered by WSU.

WASHINGTON STATE, Singler said, had waited to extend an offer to him until seeing how Fabian Boeke responded -- the 6-11 Cougar center had arthroscopic back surgery this winter.

Had Boeke come back too slowly after the surgery, it would have stood to reason the Cougs might have had more incentive to use both the two remaining rides on big men this class. But indications are Boeke has responded nicely.

"The whole reason why they were (waiting) was because of the big guy. He wanted to see if he was going to be (ready) but..he was doing really good, so then he decided he wanted (to offer). He said he liked how I played and thought I would be a perfect fit at Washington State," said Singler.

Singler said he hopes to get up to Pullman in August for an unofficial visit if his schedule allows. Like most prospects during the summer, he's currently immersed in AAU ball.

IN ADDITION TO Washington State, Singler holds offers from St. Louis and Pepperdine. UCLA has increased their recruiting efforts on Singler since Washington State offered while Stanford and Oregon continue to show Singler varying shades of recruiting love, with Stanford in the most contact of the pair.

Singler is also a potential Pac-10 prospect for football, seeing interest from Oregon State, Oregon and Washington. Football remains an option, though it looks like Singler's college future may be found on the hardcourt rather than the gridiron.

Singler said he doesn't anticipate making a decision anytime soon.

"I like the Cougs. I like coach Bennett a lot, he's a good guy," said Singler. "But as of right now, I'm still keeping my options open, looking to play through the summer and see if any more offers will come.

"Coach Woodley, he's also a good guy, he reminds me a lot of coach Bennett actually. They're young, they're energetic, they're just fine guys to talk to and I've connected with them both pretty good."

E.J. Singler profile

NOTABLE NOTE:
  • Singler has some serious athletic genes. Singler's brother Kyle plays for Duke while father, Ed, was a quarterback at Oregon State and mom, Kris, played hoops for the Beavs. In addition, four uncles variously played basketball or football at Oregon, Stanford and Texas.

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