Word is starting to get out about Chris Singleton. The 6-foot-7, 185-pound small forward from Canton (Ga.) Cherokee High School is attracting the high-major coaches to the cozy country town just north of Atlanta. And the class of 2008 is making it worth the trip so far this season.
While just a sophomore and the season still in it's infancy, Singleton has been a popular player for the high-major coaches.
Paul Hewitt (Georgia Tech) and Dave Odom (South Carolina) have both been by to see him. Assistants from Clemson and Georgia have been in as well. Even with all of the attention, his head coach Roger Kvam says Singleton hasn't paid much attention to the faces in the crowd.
"This process has not spoiled him yet. He's unaffected by it," Kvam said. "Coach Hewitt is in the stands and before the game I told him that and Chris just kind of shook his head. The kid has the game of his life that night. He's unfazed by it. He's not easily rattled."
Not easily rattled translates into 38 points (10-13 FT, 11-15 FG, 2-4 3 pt), 12 rebounds, four steals, four blocks and four assists in a 75-62 victory.
The maturation process has helped Singleton develop into the high-major player he is now. And unlike most small town teams with no size, Singleton, all 6-feet-7 of him, shines on the wing. Trips to the gym at seven in the morning everyday has helped Singleton become a deadly shooter from deep this season.
"People want to know why do you post him up? Well, he's not good in the post. Chris is going to be a two or three in college so that's why he plays there. He guards the guards and then posts them up if they are quick but when he's got the big guys on him, he takes them out and shoots the three over them."
Singleton said he sees the difference in his game this year.
"Last year I was like a rebounder and a defensive player. Coach Kvam has helped me develop my game offensively," Singleton said. "He's helped me with my dribbling, shooting and moving my feet."
"He's really got a lot of confidence in his three point shot," Kvam said. "We do a little drill where we see how many threes you can make with two balls in two minutes and he hit 31 for 48. That's the best on the team, the best we've ever had. Getting 48 shots is getting it at a good clip. He's really shooting it well. He's got a soft shot."
Kvam has coached against a number of high-major players from Cobb County dating back to his days at Sprayberry High School in Marietta. While there, he saw the likes of Alabama forward Evan Brock and current Atlanta Hawk Josh Smith while at McEachern. Kvam says Singleton has just as good of ability than both of them at this stage of the game.
"He's got an Evan Brock body with a lot more ability. Brock couldn't shoot it like Chris can. Evan just had that left hand but Chris handles with both hands and he has good vision and a good passer," Kvam said.
"At the same age, he's more skilled (than Smith) in terms of shooting and handling the ball. Now, he's not the athlete Josh was at the same age and Josh played more at the rim. I believe Chris has more skill just because he can shoot it. Josh started to shoot it more when he was a junior and then when he left for Oak Hill. Chris is more consistent and a great free throw shooter."
Singleton is still very much a work in progress but high-majors are taking a long look at the sophomore. Clemson was on hand to see him over the weekend. Singleton has taken trips to South Carolina, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Georgia in the fall.
He said his favorite schools at the moment are Clemson, South Carolina, UConn and Georgia Tech. That list is only sure to grow as the youngster continues to grow and improve his overall game.
Singleton has his toughest task of the year when the Warriors travel to Wheeler High School. There he'll have his hands full with five-star junior J.J. Hickson and the nationally ranked Wildcats.