A new year means a new Chris Singleton. The 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward from Cherokee High School in Canton, Ga., is a game into his junior season and he says there is more to come from him this season.
The four-star prospect started off strong against Wesleyan High School in the inaugural Jump Ball Jam Classic at Georgia Tech last Saturday, scoring 18 of his team's first 31 points.
A second half slump from Singleton helped Wesleyan crawl back into the game, pushing the contest into overtime. It was a huge block of Wesleyan's Tanner Smith and five points in the extra four minutes helped Cherokee claim the win. Singleton finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and five steals in the win.
It wasn't easy nor pretty but Cherokee head coach Roger Kvam said he expects to see more games like that one from Singleton this season.
"It is just part of the maturing process and now he's becoming more of a leader," Kvam said. "His attitude is better and he's more coachable. He knows he doesn't have to score on every play because he trusts his guys and his teammates trust him. It's just making it a little easier for him and for us."
Singleton said he likes where his team is headed this season.
"We are all on the same page and we feel like we have a chance to win a state title," Singleton said. "If we work as a team and play as a team we should be okay."
Part of Singleton's progression came from a discussion he had with Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt, he said.
"He told me that I needed to have a change of heart and get my life straight. I feel like I got it back. That meant a lot. I needed to become a better person and a better basketball player."
Needless to say, the hometown Yellow Jackets are clearly in the picture. Along with Georgia Tech, South Carolina compiles his top two programs on his wish list.
"I'm still listening to other people but my number one and number two schools are Georgia Tech and South Carolina," Singleton said. "No doubt about it."
LSU, Memphis, Clemson and Connecticut are also on the list but Hewitt and Dave Odom have clearly made an impression on Singleton. That relationship with the head coach will have a major impact on his college destination.
"That is going to mean a lot because when it comes down to it, he is the one that is going to help you out the most in college and life after college," Singleton said. "He'll always be there for you and be your friend but also be your coach."
Kvam, his current coach, said he the athletic combo forward could have his best year to date.
"He's so much better than what he was last year," Kvam said. "This can be a great year for him."