MADRID – NBA prospect Kyle Singler has no regrets over his decision to spurn the Detroit Pistons to play basketball in Europe.
The Real Madrid forward, who was selected by Detroit with the 33rd pick in the second round of the draft, is one of the few players not to return to the North American league after the lockout ended.
The former Duke forward felt pressured from the Pistons to come back once the lockout ended, but preferred to take the decision that suited him best.
“I knew they were upset, a little disappointed. The bottom line was that I was a little selfish, I wanted the best for myself, I wanted to be happy,” Singler told The Associated Press from Madrid’s training facilities on the outskirts of the Spanish capital.
“It was difficult but, at the end of the day, if I never play in the NBA, would I be disappointed? Sure, but I’m happy I made the decision I made.”
The 23-year-old Oregon native said the opportunity to play abroad and experience a foreign culture was too good an opportunity to pass up.
“The opportunity to play a lot more was here, but the bottom line was I was happy and felt no pressure to leave and go back to the NBA,” said Singler, who was named most valuable player after leading Duke to the 2010 NCAA championship. “Deep down I knew it was the best decision for me to stay. I’ll have another chance to play in the NBA, there was no real rush.”
Singler first joined Spanish club Lucentum Alicante for the duration of the lockout, and moved to Madrid on a one-year deal rather than go to Detroit once the NBA and players reached an agreement. Singler has settled in to average 14.4 points per game for the Spanish league leaders.
“This whole experience opens your eyes a little bit, especially being out of the States and over here, it’s a breath of fresh air,” said the six-foot-eight Singler. “It’s a different culture, new experiences. I like to mix things up, that’s probably the easiest way to explain it.”
Singler is enjoying Spanish culture, including taking in Real Madrid’s football matches, the city’s cultural sites and his favourite dish of chicken paella. He even finds time to go-cart with Madrid teammate and fellow American Jaycee Carroll, a former Utah State player. While his ability to speak Spanish is still not where it needs to be, that hasn’t been an issue on the court.
With Detroit last in the Eastern Conference’s Central division, Singler is happy to wait until the off-season to make a decision on returning if the Pistons offer him a deal.
“If I do go back I’m sure it will be Detroit because they are very interested in me,” Singler said. “I’m not saying that I don’t want to go to their team, but if it’s a good situation I’ll definitely make that choice.”