Tag Archives: EJ Singler

Waxing Seniority: They’re Gone

I’ll miss them. You will, too. And with the wrap of this season, reality has sunk in that some of our favorites will move on. Cue the Vitamin C, it’s graduation time.

And this crop of seniors saw some stuff. They endured but did not define one of the worst stretches in Pac-12 hoops there’s ever been. By way of historical context I have none. But anecdotally can you tell me I’m wrong? These seniors saw the winner of their conference not play in the NCAA tournament. The Pac-12 was bad.

But they won’t be defined by this period of ineptitude. They’ll be defined by the fight we saw and the resilience we cheered. As a slew of fantastic writers boasted of their favorite seniors’ careers (all below), I was reminded that we’re not always fans for the wins and losses. We’re drawn to the human components of this game, the universal truths that we all struggle in an effort to succeed. Which is why it was so rewarding to see EJ Singler in his first Big Dance. And Solomon Hill lead down the home stretch. And see Brock Motum score 79 points in his final three games. And see the career transformation of Larry Drew II. And Joe Burton play the role of cultural ambassador.

Maybe they didn’t win any titles and reached just a single Elite 8 collectively, but they were the seniors of our teams and sometimes that’s about all we need to be a fan.

The 2012-13 Pac-12 Seniors – or at least those who were so kindly discussed by those who follow them closest for the Waxing Seniority series:

The Dancing Oregon Ducks

So the team that wins the Pac-12 Tournament garnered a twelve seed. This was immediately reacted to with moderate outrage and addressed by Mike Bobinski on the CBS Selection Show. Look, I understand that the committee’s job is tough and generally see little reason to get too upset at their work. Especially if they can provide a rational explanation. So I was willing to give Bobinski a pass if he had good reason. But this was his thoughts about Oregon as a twelve, “We had evaluated their entire season’s worth of work as belonging somewhere in that eleven range.” I can’t get behind that and I know if you’re a Duck you can’t either. I saw this team beat Arizona, UNLV, and handle UCLA twice. Four wins does not a season make but those four teams are seeded 6, 5, and 6 and the Ducks (just like Ohio State) had just won their conference tournament. Where’s the reward? Alas, the thing I keep coming back to is who’s more pissed off? Is it Oregon for getting the poor and “disrespectful” seeding? Or is it their first round opponent, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who now have to travel to San Jose and play the angry Ducks?

Side note: Lotta points to be scored should this have been a football game.

Why I like them: This team plays their roles remarkably well and is committed to Dana Altman’s system. I love their depth and the complete roster of players and athletes Altman artfully substitutes. They defend and rebound tremendously well which bodes well come tournament time (see: Vegas, Las). They rank 16th in defensive efficiency nationally.

Why I don’t like them: Ain’t got no shooters! Their eFG% is right around average (49.1% vs 48.6%) and their three point shooting (for better or worse a key to winning this month) is…poor at best. They shoot just 32% from distance. Additionally, the fact that they’re turnover-prone does not help any offensive woes they might encounter.

Poetic Justice: EJ Singler has been the rock of this program and played in every other tournament this glorious month offers. He’s played in the CBI and NIT and now, for the first time in his career he’ll play in the Big One. We’ve already discussed how the program’s season was slighted but wouldn’t it be exciting to see the Ducks win a few for this guy? Or better yet, because of this guy? He’s putting up 15/5/2 over the Ducks’ last four games (including their P12 tournament run) and they could certainly benefit if the native Oregonian could stay hot.

Best Possible Scenario: EJ indeed stays hot and Daymean Dotson does the same, giving the Ducks a shooting threat alongside tournament MVP, Johnathan Loyd. Between this trifecta the offense manages enough muster while Kazemi throttles Le’Bryan Nash and a now game tested and completely healthy, Dominic Artis, gives Marcus Smart fits. The Cowboys aren’t hitting and Oregon takes advantage of their inability to board. The Ducks win this practical home game and semi-host the fourth seeded – and tough – St. Louis Billikens in what would turn into a hard-nosed, grind of a game. Which of course let’s us believe anything can happen. The Ducks match the Billikens in defensive intensity and take care of the rock, winning on a late Singler runner, 58-56. With the Ducks headed to the Sweet 16, Phil Knight buys out the arena and the entire student body is invited to Indianapolis for the Oregon-Lousiville game. Unfortunately the Louisville press is too much for these turnover prone Ducks, ending their season. Though Oregon wins the Nike-Adidas aesthetic game.

Waxing Seniority: EJ Singler

With the regular season now wrapped and the Pac-12’s seniors having played their final home games, we’re taking a tour across the conference and bidding this group of seniors farewell.

David Piper is the editor and founder of Addicted to Quack. He knows Duck sports inside and out and created the web’s top blog for following all things Oregon.

In the spring of 2010, coming off their second straight bottom two finish in the Pac-12, the Oregon Ducks fired their all-time winningest head coach, Ernie Kent. Oregon would take well over a month to name a successor, and in that time, transfer after transfer decimated the Oregon program. In all, five players left Oregon, with no incoming recruits having been signed as Dana Altman took over as head coach in April. Only one of the holdovers was an underclassmen. That player was E. J. Singler.

Singler committed to Oregon even as they were coming off a 2-16 conference season in 2008-09. The Oregon 6A player of the year at South Medford, he was more known for being Kyle’s little brother, although he has been a good player in his own right. He imprinted himself on the team right away, becoming a starter his freshman year, and earning a reputation as a guy who does a little bit of everything—shooting 45% from the field while finishing third on the team in rebounds and assits.

But it was after Altman took over that Singler really began to assert himself. The 2010-11 Ducks may have been one of the least talented Pac-12 squads ever assembled. The roster looked straight out of the bottom half of the Big Sky. Only two players, Singler and Joevan Catron, would sniff the floor on a team that was even halfway decent. But the team ran everything through E.J., who was second on the team in scoring, rebounding, and blocks, and somehow led the team to a 20 win season. More transfers ensued, leaving only two players from the Ernie Kent era still on the team two seasons after his departure.

This season, Singler is the lone remaining player from the Kent era, the lone four-year senior on the roster. In the most tumultuous time in Oregon history, a four-year stretch in which the Ducks fired their all-time winningest coach, opened a new arena after over 80 seasons at Mac Court, and saw 12 players transfer out of the Oregon program, E.J. has been our rock. He has been the one consistent thing about this program, the one face that has seen through the entire time of transition.

E.J.’s numbers are down across the board this season, as he has been battling a pretty bad case of knee tendonitis all year. However, he is still the unquestionable leader of the squad. Despite missing out on the conference title, he still likely has led this team to the NCAA Tournaement for the first time since 2008, and the program back to being respectable. The most anybody can do is hope to leave a place better than how they found it. E.J. is the one player over the last handful of seasons who has really left a lasting mark on Oregon basketball, and the program is in a much better place for it.


I really don’t want to dive deep into a preview of this tournament. Or any post-season for that matter.

I could tell you that I really like Arizona’s talent or that Shabazz, Jahii, Askia, Crabbe/Cobbs, or Powell are terrifying in single elimination. We could touch on which Stanford team we think shows up in Vegas and whether or not my buddy Matt is right when he just says, “Dammitalltohell! Oregon State’s gonna win it!”

How healthy or unhealthy is Dre Roberson? Can Brock carry a big run? Will the Huskies play their way out? Is Oregon in a breakable slump? Why has “Judo Ken Bone” twice been Googled this week in arriving at PacHoops.com?

All things to ponder.

Right now I’m ecstatic that we’ll be treated to a rivalry game and a 5-12 matchup that features a twelfth seeded Oregon State Beavers squad that just beat the fifth seeded Buffaloes. And all the rest of it.

But come this time of year, I prefer the Billy Beane school of thinking. Have you seen or read Moneyball? The entire story centers upon the agonizing work Beane and his staff put in to creating the best possible baseball team they can on a limited budget. They are painstakingly trying to win. But when asked about the playoffs, what Beane’s approach to the most critical time of year is when legacies are cemented and legends born, Beane says, “My job is to get us to the playoffs. Everything after that is fucking luck.”

Well my job isn’t really to get anyone to the playoffs. It’s actually completely unrelated and if you’re ever interested email me and we can discuss it but I guarantee you it’s a complete tangent from college basketball or Moneyball or really anything remotely pertaining to a final score.

I spend the working months of the season trying to rationalize every piece of the year. I want to fathom just what effect Shabazz will have on his team or Arizona’s three bigs on their squad or whether Ahmad Starks really can spark the team defense Craig Robinson so glaringly lacks. I rationalize that some of these teams aren’t as good as expected and others are better. Basically I try my best to meld the summer’s recruiting gossip, the preseason’s practice hype, and then actual game play into some rational argument for whatever the hell is going on.

Until now.

Similar to how Beane said it, all bets are off. This is tournament time and we’re in the midst of one game seasons. While “anything is possible” is an overplayed phrase this time of year…anything is possible.

It’s to this hope that we cling and there’s a reason for that hope, a rationalization of irrationality I suppose. No longer are we seeking the best over the course of 30-games. Because that’s when luck – as Beane puts it – can be diluted. Across 30-or-more-games, the cream is going to rise to the top. The aberrations and anomalies will be weeded out.

But now this is where we thrive, the fans. This may be Billy Beane’s nightmare but it’s a fan’s dream. It’s why we’re fans.

That finite peek at some semblance of hope that our team, on this night, on that court, might have a shot to make the shot and win a game they might otherwise have no business competing in.

At this point in the year we know every bar that can broadcast the Pac-12 Network. And the ones that don’t. We know the spot we can watch an FSN broadcast and we all have an opinion on Bill Walton. And we know our own team inside and out and that isn’t about to stop us from picking them to win this damn thing and Dance.

Somewhere across these great interwebs I will and have made some rational prognostications. But here, in this moment, know that my favorite part is the fucking luck.

Waxing Seniority: A Farewell Tour of Pac-12 Seniors

One of our favorite things about collegiate athletics is its fleeting immediacy. The players we cheer for, those who don our colors, are there for a predetermined and brief period. We enjoy their services for, at most, four seasons and then its on to their next venture. It’s quick, gone in what feels like a flash, and we’re then left with a new crop of talents to cheer, critique, and enjoy a new group.

But it’s this brevity that magnifies the relationship.

We know all too well of its finality that we’re further drawn to irrational levels of fandom. I love it. And now the seniors have now wrapped up their final home games. They will never play on their home court again. For this, I’m sad.

Because these are the guys we’ve followed since before they got to school and watched improve and watched succeed and watched fail and watched grow. They’ve embodied a lifecycle we appreciate and now is the time to usher them on and out.

For such, I’ve reached out to some of my favorite writers, bloggers, and fans in an effort to try and capture the feelings of this time of year. Both the bitter and the sweet.

So coming today and beyond, you will see the following seniors celebrated by those who’ve followed them close:

It’s a good crop we’re saying farewell to and a terrific group who have pieced together some remarkable, exciting, and fun careers.

Stay tuned.

A Trip To Palo Alto: Ducks and Beers Crushed

I don’t navigate Palo Alto too well so we were a few minutes late to meeting my pals at The Old Pro. But once we arrived, we crushed a couple pitchers, a sampler platter, and some chicken nachos that tasted a lot more like shredded pork and headed out.

En route to Maples we saw no scalpers.

Our Box Office purchase was little more than entry into the stadium as we wound up sitting darn well wherever we please which reads a lot more assertive than our bleachers-behind-the-shot-clock choice would suggest.


We caught the middle of the Cardinal introductions and were acutely aware of the high school vibe Maples seems to propagate. This isn’t a bad thing. By many accounts Cameron Indoor successfully accomplishes the same, there’s nothing wrong with intimacy. It just makes it somewhat easier to overlook that one of the teams on the floor is the tenth rated team in the nation. Because the crowd certainly did not indicate such.

They more embodied the home team – understandably – as a group with great potential (I’m always curious the earning potential of the Stanford student section) not yet achieved. Nonetheless, the stage was set for a big night as Musburger and Walton had the nationally televised call.

Is it just me or is that a remarkably power tandem for a Wednesday night 11pm EST ESPNU tip?

Alas, the ball was tipped and before possession was even acquired, Oregon had a turnover. I suppose that was going to be the case in this Dominic Artis-less offense but don’t let that be the rationale for the transpiring 40-minutes. What Stanford did was impose their defensive will and contest every shot, force uncomfortable runners, and for Oregon so far out of its comfort zone that they stood little to no chance.

It was a defensive masterpiece that happened to coincide with quite the shooting night. The Cardinal shot a cool 52% from the field and 57% from deep, which is to say they got theirs inside and out. Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis asserted themselves basically everywhere while Aaron Bright was unquestionably in control of the game at all times.

And here was my favorite sequence. With 15:16 remaining in the game and some semblance of an Oregon chance still lingering, the following occurred:

Huestis block, Randle three, Emory foul, Bright three, Austin offensive foul, Oregon Time out.

Time elapsed? Twenty seconds to jump that lead to a devastating 22-points. And had Andy Brown’s three fallen coming out of that Oregon timeout it literally would have been my all-time favorite back breaking sequence.

Oregon played poorly, they did, but Wednesday was Stanford’s night. Now I will be curious to observe  exceptions and rules. I don’t think 35% shooting and 20 turnovers is the rule for Oregon. The same applies for Stanford.

But this could be the Cardinal’s tipping point; the moment they remember they are a deep, tough, and talented team.

For Oregon, I see this game as a heat check. They’ve played some terrific basketball but also an unsustainable model. They’d been squeaking past opponents, meddling about the middle of the conference in scoring margin. So like a said, a heat check, perhaps an opportunity to straighten their collar and tighten their tie because the Ducks still have a stranglehold on this conference.

As for me? It was so great to get into that live atmosphere again. It goes without saying but being there is a completely different experience than the television. You’re reminded of the size of these players and the quickness it requires to go three-point line to rim; the explosiveness of a flatfooted dunk; how physical an off-ball screen is.

I love getting to tell these stories because there’s so much going on in that 94×50 foot rectangle of hardwood that I just can’t get enough.

Hooray Sports!

A Token Thanksgiving Post

Today is Thanksgiving, a day intrinsically if not by simple nomenclature, dedicated to the giving of thanks. Subsequently there is the annual onslaught of columns and lists proclaiming gratefulness for a slew life’s wonders.

At PacHoops, we’re not above that.

Because I’m thankful the season has begun and we get to see the coaches again. Their varied levels of animation while patrolling a sideline is amongst my favorite things to watch. From the progressive reddening of Kevin O’Neill’s face to Sean Miller’s cough and squat yelling to Dana Altman’s jacketless rants, I love it.

And I’m thankful, obviously, for the Pac-12 Network. While all of conference alignment is driven by the pigskin, the TV networks already aired the majority of football games. Now, we get all basketball games with relative ease. That’s hoops-on-hoops-on-hoops and so just as daylight saving’s brings my life into darkness, my evenings have been illuminated by Bay Area Comcast 823 (for HD) and 433/434 for less-than-impressive standard def. Seriously the 400s channels look like someone is streaming the stream from their iPhone. But, it is available and, yeah, I’m thankful.

Then there’s the players. I’ll start with the yougins because there’s been growing hype and now they’re playing and we’re discovering that perhaps Jordan Adams is a bigger talent than the rest of UCLA’s class, Arizona’s freshmen are indeed bigger than Jesse Perry, Josh Scott makes CU bigger than Roberson, and Jahii Carson is bigger than Sendek’s pace. I know it’s early but these pups have asserted themselves early, meeting the hype and perhaps surpassing the critical hype – that’s to say some fan bases have irrational hype. Example: I read one prediction that Arizona’s three freshmen bigs would average a combined 38/31. Not happening. But I’m thankful to see them and the others shoot for the moon.

And the seniors. Yeah, thankful for those guys as are the aforementioned freshmen. These guys are the load bearers, the ones who’ve been through the trenches, the morning weights, the late study halls, and the road trips to Pullman. They’re Pac-12 seniors – four underwhelming years out West – who know they’re role: To lead. Solomon Hill, Abdul Gaddy, Brock Motum, Scott Suggs, Carrick Felix, Jio Fontan, EJ Singler and others will be leaned upon to fulfill that role. Their teamates are thankful to have ’em; I’m thankful to watch.

I’m thankful the NCAA got its act together. As are UCLA, Oregon, and USC who can now roll out Shabazz, Kazemi, and Oraby to supplement their already solid lineups. I’m thankful Allen Crabbe is embracing his role as best-player-in-the-Pac, Dwight Powell is making the strides we’d projected, and Colorado won the Charleston Classic.

Oh goodness there’s so much more. The road games I’ll attend, the buzzers that will be beaten, the stories that will unfold, and the fun we’re going to have.

Now go eat some turkey and pour on some extra gravy for me.

Multiple Reasons for Optimism in Matt Court

The Oregon Ducks head into Dana Altman Year Three with some optimistic pieces. Perhaps the most intriguing of which is not yet on their team. (See item 5 after reading 1-4 and then read numbers 6 and 7).

  1. Uncle Phil – Duh.
  2. Goldie Locks – Look, he cut them off and I can’t get over that but I’ll have to. I also can’t get over the fact that a lot of this squads success lies squarely on the shoulders of EJ Singler. That’s probably a good thing. He’s a returning All-Conference performer and, traditionally, seniors are awesome.
  3. Woods – No, I’m not talking about the floor which is grossly distracting on a non-HD broadcast (see ya FSN). I want to ask: What if 6’11” Tony Woods figures it out? He’s got oodles of potential, maybe this is the year he breaks out?
  4. Football
  5. Fingers Crossed – Oh man does this squad want Arsalan Kazemi to be cleared by the NCAA. The dude was a 12/10 producer (that’s a double-double if you’re counting at home) and there were talks of a C-USA POY candidacy. He’s also the first Iranian born D-1 hooper. Nice little resume this guy’s built.
  6. Art Is – Yes, art is beautiful and so is Dominic Artis’ game. The freshman point has lead the Ducks in scoring in each of their exhibition games and will be looked upon to fill the voids of Garrett Sim and Devoe Joseph (I loved Devoe). His emergence will be critical to Duck success.
  7. Au Revoir – Lotta transfers out of Eugene in Dana’s first two years. Now that’s to be expected – to an extent – with coaching turnover but now’s the time to start getting serious. For sustained success, Oregon is going to have to build around those who stick around and fill in with some talented newcomers (see: Artis, Dominic). Rebuilding year-in-year-out is too difficult at the major level.

Your Not-So-Pac-12-Media Preseason Awards

Last week the Pac-12 announced the media’s preseason predictions. They’ve picked Arizona to win it although they awarded more first place votes to UCLA – indicative of the unstable state that program appears to be in. Alas, we can’t have this be our only predictive conversation.

Following last season, we awarded the Not So Coaches Pac-12 Awards. The Dorothy, The Steinbrenner, The Grecian, and others were all awarded to the most deserving of candidates. Now, on the cusp of a highly anticipated 2012-13 Pac-12 basketball season, I present, the Not So Pac-12 Media Preseason Awards:

The Casey Jacobsen: Awarded to the player most likely to frost his tips

  • Pick: Ken Bone, WSU
  • Look, sometimes its tough to look cool when all you do is stand on a sideline and shout. And, with so many players getting busted for possession, Ken Bone needs to find a way to better relate to his team. Maybe a stop by the stylist is his best option.
  • Others considered: Rosco Allen (Stanford), Roster (ASU),

The Jorge Guitierrez: Awarded to the player most likely to piss off opposing players and fans

  • Pick: Mark Lyons, Arizona
  • Not only is he a seemingly unprecedented transfer with title implications, but by all accounts he’s got a mouth, is havoc on the defensive end, and became renowned for his participation in the Xavier-Cincinnati melee. He’s going to beat you – or at least try real hard to – and then let you know about it.
  • Others considered: Aaron Bright (Stanford), Jio Fontan (USC), Nick Johnson (Arizona), EJ Singler (Oregon)

The Brock Motum: Awarded to the best player you’ve never heard of

  • Pick: Devon Collier, Oregon State
  • It was hard not to pick Brock himself as the dude barely gets any love already despite projecting to have another stellar season lost in Pullman. But Collier has only gotten better year-over-year and projects to flourish with the departure of Jared Cunningham and the pending emergence of Roberto Nelson and Ahmad Starks.
  • Others considered: Dewayne Dedmon (USC), Scott Suggs (UW), Davonte Lacy (WSU)

The Josiah Turner/Jabari Brown: Awarded to the player most likely to miss expectations by a year and a mile

  • Pick: Shabazz Muhammad
  • At this point, this isn’t even a preseason pick, we’re just giving it to him. Odds are he won’t play a game in new, old, or otherwise Pauley; but if he does I’ll swallow the crow whole. His commitment to UCLA had Howland and crew a pre-pre-season top-10 team. Now they’re not.
  • Others considered: Dominic Artis (Oregon), Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona), JT Terrell (USC)

Player I Want to Party With: (no criteria provided)

  • Pick: Brock Motum (WSU)
  • If you’ve never traveled abroad and stayed at a hostel with an Australian, I suggest you do it.
  • Others considered:

The RomCom: Awarded to the player that most resembles a cast member of Love Actually

  • Pick: Angus Brandt







  • Others considered: Unanimous decision

The 2007 Patriots: Awarded to the team most likely to lose you money

  • Pick: USC Trojans
  • Here is the team that’s super interesting and I’ve called the hipster pick but they were 1-17 last year! Sure they’re grossly revamped but we know absolutely nothing about them but everyone keeps picking them. What if they’re wrong and the juice is flowing the wrong way?
  • Others considered: Arizona Wildcats, UCLA Bruins

The 2001 Patriots: Awarded to the team most likely to make you money

  • Pick: Washington Huskies
  • Not many people are high on the Huskies but they have heavy experience at three critical positions at the point, wing, and center and a wild card in RS senior Scott Suggs. Maybe, just maybe, the Huskies can eek out a competitive season and spoil the preseason predictions.
  • Others considered: Stanford Cardinal, USC Trojans

The Golden Mane: Awarded to the most luscious locks in the conference

  • Pick: EJ Singler
  • He cut them. They’re gone and he looks like an everyman but we’re awarding him this for potential. What if he grows it out over the season? I want it to happen. Make it so.
  • Others considered: Angelo Chol (Arizona), John Gage (Stanford), Sabatino Chen (Colorado),

Best Iranian: Awarded to the best Iranian born player in the conference

  • Pick: Arsalan Kazemi
  • Uh…pretty sure he’s the only one to play D-1 ball. Ever.
  • Others considered: Unanimous decision

Oregon-UW was a Throwback Game as Good as March Gets

That was some March basketball.

And I’m not going to let you call me crazy because Tuesday’s Oregon-Washington game was as good a game as you’re going to see this time of year. Two teams took the court wanting nothing more than to beat their opponent. That’s what college basketball is all about; that’s competition at its finest.

And did you watch?

It was terrific. Terrence Ross played like the league-bound talent he is and Tony Wroten was bigger than the other kids and Abdul Gaddy conducted like the ballyhooed point guard he is. On the flip side of the equation EJ Singler was as well rounded and tough as a Dukie, Olu Ahsalou was unstoppable, and Tony Woods approached flawless.

The unfortunate difference maker? Garret Sim and Devoe Joseph combined for a pedestrian 7-24 shooting night and that kinda breaks my heart.

I’m a sucker for seniors. That guy – I wrote all about it last month – who hits the shot he shouldn’t, makes the plays others couldn’t; and draws the charge others wouldn’t. The kind of plays that Joseph and Sim made all year long for an improved and solid Oregon squad.

On this night they simply didn’t have it while the Huskies did. Such is basketball; such is March; such is life. Washington heads to New York as the Ducks return to Eugene, their season complete after a terrific five month run. Back to the game.

The Huskies were terrific out of the gate, quickly building a lead in transition and off of Duck turnovers; staples of LoRo-ball. But Oregon quacked right back, taking a lead with the score in the teens that they wouldn’t yield until the second half when some combination of defense and a too much individual creating began. But that just may be what you do when Terrence, Tony, and Devoe are on the floor.

It worked for the purple team.

And perhaps my favorite part of this game? The pace. It was some old school Pac-10 action: fast, pressing, offensive, and athletic. Loved it. It’s like the weather. I’d rather it be in the 80s than the 50s. It was simply put: good basketball. Or at least my favorite kind of basketball.

Many have and will rip this league. It wasn’t a great year, a fact we’re all beyond well aware of by now.

But Tuesday night was as good as it gets.