Joy and pain: The post-UVa journey of Sean Singletary - Cavalier Insider: M Basketball

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Joy and pain: The post-UVa journey of Sean Singletary

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Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013 7:00 am | Updated: 4:04 pm, Mon Nov 11, 2013.

If college is, as many people are wont to say, the greatest four years of your life, what are the next five years supposed to be?

For former Virginia star Sean Singletary, they’ve been like the old Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock song, “Joy and Pain.”

Joy: Getting a chance to play in the NBA.

Pain: Losing his mother to cancer.

Joy: Experiencing the birth of two daughters.

Pain: Getting cut from a team for the first time in his life.

Joy: Having his UVa jersey retired.

Pain: Hip and knee injuries, strange European coaches and agents with questionable intentions.

On a recent scorcher of a day at the Dell basketball courts, just a couple blocks from the arena where he once electrified crowds and had his No. 44 hoisted to the rafters, Singletary smiled as he discussed his post-UVa life.

The smile was as big as the one he had on his face the night he jumped into the arms of teammate Lars Mikalauskas after Virginia beat Arizona for its first-ever win at John Paul Jones Arena

The determination in his voice was as steely as the look he gave an ESPN camera after hitting the shot to beat Duke.

Singletary, now 27, is determined to find more joy — and make anybody who ever doubted that he could stick in the NBA look as silly as the ACC point guards who once tried to guard him.

Welcome to the NBA

Singletary, arguably the best player the Virginia program has produced since Ralph Sampson, calls the last five years of his life a “whirlwind.”

“People always say that when you’re in school, you want to hurry up and get out, and when you’re out of school, you want to get back,” said Singletary, a three-time All-ACC First-Team selection who led the Cavaliers to a share of the league title in 2007. “That’s been pretty much it.

“It’s been a blur. It’s all gone by so fast. People jokingly refer to me that I’m getting old and things like that. It’s pretty bittersweet because time does fly and things do change. It feels like just yesterday that I left here. It’s been a quick five years.”

In June of 2008, a smiling Singletary and Patrick Ewing, Jr. stood on a dais holding their jerseys up during an introductory press conference in Sacramento.

The duo had just been selected in the second round by the Kings.

It looked like Singletary was going to be calling Arco Arena home for a while — especially after a solid performance in the NBA summer league.

However, before he could even play a regular-season game for the Kings he was dealt to the Houston Rockets.

As it turned out, the Rockets didn’t really want Singletary, either. They were simply using his $400K salary to make the math work on a deal that netted them Metta World Peace.

So before playing any games for the Rockets, Singletary was dealt to the Phoenix Suns.

Singletary joined a star-studded team that featured Steve Nash, Shaquille O’Neal, Amare Stoudemire and Grant Hill.

Nash was out with an injury and minutes behind veteran Leandro Barbosa were available, so it appeared that Singletary was in a mano-a-mano battle with fellow rookie Goran Dragic.

However, Dragic had recently signed a three-year guaranteed contract with the Suns and was viewed as Nash’s heir apparent. The Suns were going to give Dragic every chance they could to prove that he was worthy of their investment, even if Singletary was outperforming him.

“As a young player...I don’t understand it,” Singletary recalled, “because I’m just like kicking his [butt] every day in practice.”

Without Nash, the Suns were struggling, but Singletary says the team’s problems extended beyond wins and losses.

“Amare and Shaq and Steve are having problems with Terry Porter, and the front office and the coaching staff are not meeting eye to eye,” Singletary said. “There are so many things going on behind [closed] doors.”

In early December, Phoenix lost its fourth straight game, a 15-point defeat at Dallas. After the game, Singletary was coming out of the showers when he overheard veteran Matt Barnes making a prediction.

“He was like, ‘Man, somebody’s about to get traded,’” Singletary said. “I was like, ‘It’s probably going to be me.’

“[Barnes] was like, ‘No, you don’t make enough money to be traded.’”

A few days later, Singletary, who had briefly overtaken Dragic in the rotation, was expecting to start in a TNT-televised game against the Lakers. 

“I was like, ‘Man, this about to be my really big chance — national TV against the Lakers in prime time,’” Singletary said.

However, two hours before tip-off, as he was riding to the game in a taxi, Singletary got a call from Suns GM Steve Kerr. He had been traded with Raja Bell and Boris Diaw to the Charlotte Bobcats for Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley.

“He was like, ‘Sorry, we had to make some moves and blah, blah blah,’” said Singletary, recalling his conversation with Kerr. “He said, ‘I enjoyed you and really appreciated you. It had nothing to do with you. It was just a business move.’

“I’m like [expletive] crushed.”

His biggest fan

At that time, trying to find a permanent home in the NBA wasn’t the only thing on Singletary’s mind.

Throughout his rookie year, Singletary’s mother, Jacqueline, had been battling cancer.

It was a battle Singletary had seen her fight before.

When he was in high school, Jacqueline had beaten breast cancer.

But now she had brain cancer.

Jacqueline had always been the most important person in Singletary’s life, his rock. The Princeton-educated mom was always looking out for her son’s best interests, both on and off the court.

“She pretty much decided that I was coming to the University of Virginia even before I was sold on the school,” said a smiling Singletary, recalling the college recruiting process. “And that was one of the best decisions that I ever made in my life.

“She was the reason why I came to UVa.”

Jacqueline, a branch manager of a bank in Philadelphia, and Singletary's father, Harold, a policeman who had himself overcome prostate cancer, always put their kids first.

Jacqueline was always insisting that money be put aside for the children’s future.

“She sacrificed from Day 1 for me,” Singletary said, “so that I would have a good shot at this thing called life.”

When Singletary entered the ninth grade, he wasn’t sure why he was being sent off to a boarding school. He thought maybe he had done something wrong. Only in later years did he learn that it was because his mom didn’t want him to see her battling breast cancer.

“She was unbelievable,” recalled Kyle Lowry, Singletary’s longtime friend. “For a mother to keep that to herself — just because she knew how hard her son would take it — that’s pretty amazing.

“She did everything she could to make him happy and successful.”

Lowry, who came up the Philadelphia basketball ranks with Singletary before starring at Villanova, often stayed at the Singletary residence for weeks at a time.

“His mom was pretty much like my mother,” Lowry said. “They were two of a kind. I used to call her mom. I felt like she was my other mother because she took such good care of me like she did him.”

Singletary says his mom was always trying to protect him and his brothers.

“She hid us from a lot of stuff,” he said. “She always kept us busy so we couldn’t dwell on negatives — or it wouldn’t be visible to us.

“For the most part, she kept us blind to the negative things surrounding us.”

Brown’s Bobcats

In December of 2008, Singletary joined the Charlotte Bobcats — his fourth organization in seven months.

From the get-go, the situation didn’t seem promising.

The Bobcats already had more young guards than they knew what to do with in Raymond Felton, D.J. Augustine and Shannon Brown.

The team was coached by Larry Brown, who had a reputation for being tough on point guards.

Two years before, the coach had been fired by the Knicks after a tumultuous tenure, which included run-ins with Stephon Marbury, Isiah Thomas and owner James Dolan.

“I didn’t know what kind of situation I was getting into,” Singletary said.

Upon his arrival, Singletary beat out the ex-Michigan State standout Brown, who, like many players over the years, had found his way into Larry Brown’s doghouse.

The Hall-of-Fame coach, to the amusement of some NBA observers, had adopted a tradition of letting players start in their hometowns. So when the Bobcats visited Philadelphia on Jan. 9, Brown started Singletary over Felton and Augustine.

Playing in front of family and friends, Singletary had two points and three assists in eight minutes of action, then promptly returned to his role as the third-string point guard.

“I started getting discouraged and saying to myself, ‘What the hell is going on?’” Singletary said. 

Singletary was starting to realize that things in the NBA weren’t always black and white.

“In college, my freshman year, I had outworked T.J. [Bannister] and I got in position to play,” said Singletary, referring to his former UVa teammate. “I’m thinking in my mind that this was basketball and you always earn your keep, and I felt like I was earning my keep and wasn’t getting my just due.”

Singletary’s playing time increased when Augustine was injured. For a spell, he was serving as Felton’s primary backup, playing about 10 minutes per game.

But eventually Singletary fell into Brown’s doghouse.

During a practice, the coach was unhappy with how Singletary was running a drill and ripped into him in front of the whole team.

“Larry was like, ‘No son, you’re doing it wrong,’” Singletary said. “He gets on the court and does exactly what I did.

“I did exactly the same thing again and he was like, ‘No, no, no. Sit the [expletive] down. You’re doing it wrong.’ I’m looking at the [assistant] coaches like for assurance, like, ‘What am I doing wrong?’

“Me looking back, the only reason he was doing that to me was because D.J. was coming back and he needed to get him in the lineup. It had nothing to do with anything.”

Singletary had a meeting with Brown, but says he wasn’t quite sure how to express all of his frustrations.

“I’ve never been a disrespectful person to anybody,” he said, “but him being hard on me was like...I didn’t know what was going on. It was tough.”

Singletary had played for demanding coaches before, but this seemed different.

“Coach [Dave] Leitao was tough on me,” he said, alluding to the former UVa coach, “but I understood my role and understood what I had to do. There, I didn’t understand it.”

It was around that time that Singletary says he made a mistake.

“I stopped doing extra things like I used to do — like lifting and [things],” he said. “I was like, ‘I’m not playing. What the [expletive] am I lifting for? They don’t want me here. I wasn’t getting any communication. 

“When I was in Phoenix and Charlotte, I had no good communication with [either] coach because the front office and the coaching staff were always bumping heads.”

In February, Singletary was sent to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Bobcats’ D-league affiliate in South Dakota. 

In retrospect, Singletary realizes that there were a lot of players who would have loved to be in his position. Yes, he was playing in the NBA’s minor league, but he was still getting paid NBA money.

“If I could do it all over again, I would be happy as [heck] just to have a contract,” Singletary said, “but at the time I was like, ‘I’m getting sent down to the D-League because they wanted [a roster spot] for Alexis Ajinca...he really was terrible.”

Sioux Falls was like Siberia to Singletary.

Adding insult to injury: Singletary had just broken up with his girlfriend whom he had been dating since his Virginia days.

“It was a cold-ass winter and I wanted to bring my dogs out there,” he said, “but my agent was advising me not to.

“I was lonely as [heck].”

Soon after, Singletary aggravated a right hip injury that he had originally sustained at UVa.

When the season ended, Singletary returned to Charlotte. He sat alone in an apartment waiting for instructions from his agent and the Bobcats that never came.

“I’m wondering where my career’s going,” he said.

Eventually, Singletary was informed that the option on his contract wasn’t being picked up.

Just over a year after concluding one of the most productive careers in ACC history, Singletary was officially an NBA nomad.

A brief homecoming

If there was any bright spot to not having his contract option picked up by Charlotte, it was that Singletary was a free agent and could look for the best fit with his next team.

For Singletary, his hometown Philadelphia 76ers seemed like a no-brainer.

The Sixers had veteran Lou Williams and had just drafted Jrue Holiday but were looking for a third point guard.

Best of all: Singletary could spend quality time with his mother.

Singletary believed things were going great with the Sixers. Guard Royal Ivey confided in him that he was telling his own agent to find him another team because he believed Singletary was going to beat him out.

But it was not to be.

One early morning, Sixers assistant coach Aaron McKie told Singletary that head coach Eddie Jordan wanted to talk.

“I’m thinking he’s going to tell me, ‘We’re going to keep you because you are always coming in early and doing the right thing,’” Singletary recalled, “but he just says, ‘We’re going to let you go first so you can try and get on with another team.’”

As a dejected Singletary walked out of Jordan’s office, he ran into his best friend on the team, Sixers star Andre Iguodala.

“I was so embarrassed,” Singletary said. “I didn’t know what to say to him. It was the first time I’d been cut in my whole life.”

Pretending like nothing had happened, Singletary quickly left the practice facility. However, Iguodala knew something was wrong.

Iguodala, now with the Golden State Warriors, remembers how frustrated Singletary was. 

“He had a great college career and worked so hard,” Iguodala said. “You kind of expect to make it to the next level. When the ball doesn’t bounce your way, you get down.

“I see a lot of guys who come in and play well, but it’s a numbers game sometimes. There’s only a certain amount of roster spots and guaranteed contracts. You’re just kind of on the outside looking in. But it’s all about how you respond in this league.”

The silver lining to Singletary’s time in Philadelphia: it was there that he wound up meeting the mother of his children.

Soon after, Singletary hired a new agent, who helped him land a deal with Caja Laboral, a Spanish league powerhouse that has produced several NBA players, including Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni and Jose Calderon.

Singletary joined a team that featured current Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic and former Tennessee star Chris Lofton. It was Lofton who had hit the clutch free throws that knocked Virginia out of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

The coach of the team, Dusko Ivanovic, made the likes of Brown and Leitao seem laid back. 

“It was like prep school for grown men,” said Singletary, shaking his head.

Players were required to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together and weren’t permitted to get up from the table until everybody had finished their meal.

On bus trips, Singletary says Ivanovic would make the team watch gory military movies.

“It was a pretty sick situation,” Singletary said.

Off the court, Singletary was miserable. He was in Vitoria-Gasteiz, where he says there weren’t a lot of people who spoke English.

Singletary contacted his agent almost daily, begging him to find him another team. However, the agent, just like his previous one, wasn’t easy to get a hold of. Singletary says he would later learn that the agent had a reputation for leaving clients high and dry.

Unfortunately, things got worse.

During a practice, Singletary received a pass from Teletovic on the fastbreak. As he rose up to dunk, his left knee buckled.

At the time, Singletary didn’t think the injury was serious. He believed he had simply tweeked something.

However, as days and weeks went by, his knee never got any better.

Eventually, the team replaced Singletary with NBA journeyman Milt Palacio.

The one bright spot from Singletary’s time in Spain occurred when his girlfriend, whom he had been maintaining a long-distance relationship with, told him during a Skype conversation that she was pregnant.

A few months later, the couple welcomed Ava-Joe Jacqueline Singletary into the world.

A much-needed sabbatical

Finally back in the states, Singletary figured his communication with his agent would improve.

However, he says it got even worse.

Meanwhile, his knee wasn’t feeling any better.

Singletary was hopeful that arthroscopic surgery would solve the problem, but saw little improvement following the procedure.

Singletary tried to play in the NBA summer league with the Orlando Magic, but says it was pretty much pointless since he was only about 20 percent.

At that point, Singletary decided to take a year off from pro basketball to try and get completely healthy.

After a few months, he started playing in pick-up games around Philadelphia.

But his knee still wasn’t responding.

“I couldn’t even jump,” Singletary said. “I could barely run. I was like, “I can’t believe this is happening to me.’”

Meanwhile, Singletary’s inner-circle, so largess during his rookie year, was shrinking by the day — his agent was dodging his calls and people he had considered friends no longer seemed as friendly.

To make matters worse, it was becoming increasingly apparent that his mother wasn’t going to be able to defeat cancer this time around.

“I was watching my mom deteriorate,” he said. “It was a really rough time.

“I hit like rock bottom.”

Soul searching

Eventually, Singletary says his knee started feeling a little better. He estimates that he was at about 60 percent when his agent got him a deal with Belfius Mons-Hainaut, a team in Belgium.

Singletary played pretty well there, but then injured a different part of his knee.

Going to see a specialist in nearby Brussels seemed like a good idea — until he got there. Using Google Translate, Singletary tried to tell the doctor what was bothering him, but the conversation wound up being more frustrating than helpful.

In the middle of the season, Singletary says he told the team he wanted to go home to see his mom. By this time, she only had a short time to live.

Singletary says the team told him if he left, he couldn’t come back.

With a daughter to support at a home, Singletary was in a tough spot.

Singletary’s last real conversation with his mom occurred via Skype.

“We talked about what I planned to do when I got home and I told her that my second daughter was going to be born,” Singletary said. “She was excited for that.”

By the time Singletary got back to Philadelphia, his mother was in a hospice.

Iguodala remembers how strong Singletary tried to be for his family.

“He holds down a lot of people,” said Iguodala, who was at the hospice during Jacqueline’s final hours. “That’s tough to do. He was able to hold them all down and keep them mentally strong and mentally tough.”

On Feb. 18, Jacqueline Singletary died at the age of 64.

At her request, there was no funeral.

“I figure she didn’t like what the disease did to her,” Singletary said. “She didn’t want [any] trace of it because it’s such an ugly disease.”

The death marked the beginning of an even tougher period for Singletary.

“She was his No. 1 fan,” said Singletary’s older brother, Bryan. “She was there for him his whole route — from AAU to UVa and even to the league. She was always traveling to the games, no matter where he played.

“To have him lose that, it was like he lost half of himself.”

Jacqueline Singletary’s death hit Singletary’s father hard. The couple had been married for 35 years.

Really, anybody who had ever met Jacqueline was in pain.

“She was a great parent, a great mother and a great grandmother for the time that she was a grandmother,” said Lowry, now with the Toronto Raptors. “It’s just one of those situations that’s sad to talk about because she was like my mother.”

With a bum knee and now two daughters to support, Singletary decided he needed to try something different. With the help of UVa basketball legend Barry Parkhill, he took a 9-5 job in Philadelphia.

However, Singletary wound up quitting after two weeks.

Watching players on TV who he knew he was better than was too much to take. 

“I said, ‘I don’t think I can sit here every day behind this desk, being this young,’” he said.

So last summer, Singletary came back to Charlottesville and got together with Virginia strength and conditioning coach Mike Curtis and director of basketball operations Brad Soucie.

It would prove to be a wise move.

Road to recovery

Curtis concluded that Singletary’s knee problem was the byproduct of the hip injury that he had sustained at UVa.

Over the years, Singletary had been overcompensating for the hip, “grinding” away on his knee.

Curtis started “realigning” Singletary through a series of corrective exercises, including one called the “baby crawl.”

Singletary began to see incremental improvement. He hired a new agent and returned to the D-League. 

Singletary joined the Texas Legends, who were coached by former NBA player Edjuardo Najera. The Legends’ roster included, among others, Mike James, Darius Rice and Melvin Ely.

Healthier than he had been in a couple of years, Singletary averaged 13.2 points and 5.6 assists in 42 games. He capped his season with a 35-point, seven-assist outburst against the Reno Bighorns on March 24.

Throughout his time in the D-League, Singletary says there were rumors that he was going to be called up to the Dallas Mavericks, the Legends’ parent club.

Finally, with just a few days remaining in the NBA regular season, Singletary says he was offered the opportunity to join the Mavs. However, he declined since they only had a couple games left and his agent had secured a more lucrative deal with a team in Belgium.

Singletary’s Belgium experience was much better this time around. He loved his time with Telenet Oostende. So much so that he brought his growing family to be there with him.

“It was better than any European team that I’ve ever been on,” he said. “It reminded me of the camaraderie of my junior year with Coach Leitao and [Rob] Lanier and J.R. [Reynolds] and Jason [Cain] and all those guys.”

Singletary didn’t play a lot of minutes, but that was fine by him.

“I learned to play my role,” he said. “It was cool because I became a part of something. The team was like a family and I really grew.”

It was in Belgium that Singletary says he learned the nuances of the pick-n-roll, a staple of the NBA game — the No. 1 thing that coaches and general managers look for in point guards.

Oostende wound up winning the league championship in its recently completed season.

Soon after, the San Antonio Spurs brought Singletary in for a look.

“I had a good workout there,” Singletary said, “but they didn’t bite.”

The comeback continues

On a recent morning inside the Parkhill practice court at JPJ, Singletary huffed and puffed his way through a workout with Soucie.

Just a few feet away was a large picture of him — part of a mural featuring fellow UVa greats Wally Walker, Jeff Lamp and Sampson.

In one drill, Singletary had a bungee cord harnessed to his midsection as he dribbled through cones, pulling Soucie along.

Moments later, a gassed Singletary had to hit eight straight NBA-distance 3-pointers from several designated locations. At one such spot, he made 16 in a row.

“He’s one of the hardest workers that I’ve seen,” Soucie said. “He just always wants to do more. He’s got a high motor and is in great shape — he can sustain game speed for long periods of time.

“He’s probably in the best condition of most guys I’ve seen.”

Being healthy makes all the difference.

“I would say it’s pretty much night and day since when he first came in [last summer],” Curtis said. “Every day it was, ‘This hurts, this doesn’t feel right.’”

Singletary would go through a 20-minute drill and be sore for the next two days.

Not anymore.

“Now he’s reporting that he can go through a tough workout,” Curtis said. “He just went through a whole season and he didn’t have reports of residual pain.”

Singletary says it’s “full speed ahead” now.

“I’m finally 100 percent and my confidence is as high as it’s ever been,” he said. “I have a new love for the game and a lot more hunger. I have a family to feed, which really helps.”

Iguodala believes Singletary has the talent to make it back to the NBA.

“It’s funny sometimes,” he said. “You have a lot of guys who have talent to get there and it’s just not the right timing.

“For him, it’s all about finding the right timing and the right situation.”

Lowry agreed.

“I think the opportunities that he was given — he just wasn’t healthy enough to take advantage of it,” he said. “I think if he’s given the opportunity again, he’ll be able to take full advantage of it based on how hard I’ve seen him work the few weeks we’ve worked together.”

Iguodala plans on telling anybody who will listen, including his own GM in Golden State, that Singletary deserves another chance.

“It’s hard just coming in and saying, ‘This is my guy,’” Iguodala said, “but I have a few connections around the league.

“I’ll definitely send the word out like, ‘Hey, this is a kid who can go out there and who can produce, you’ve got to give him a shot.’”

Singletary, according to one NBA scout, is knocking on the door.

“Sean’s close,” said the scout, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But he’s maybe a tad not athletic enough, super-quick enough. He’s a tad small. He’s just a little bit off position-wise as far as being a natural point guard.

“But he’s close. It’s just a few things like that which hold him back a little bit.”

The future

At the end of the day, Singletary is well aware that a career in Europe is nothing to sneeze at. Teams can offer six-figure, tax-free salaries with free cars and lodging.

A number of former UVa stars, including Norman Nolan and Travis Watson, have made nice livings abroad. Roger Mason Jr. used Europe to propel himself back into the NBA.

Preferably, Singletary — who has been training in Charlottesville and at a John Lucas camp in Houston while awaiting his next opportunity — would like to raise his daughters in the U.S.

Singletary’s eyes light up when he talks about Ava-Joe, 3, and Mikki-Joi, 1. For Singletary, becoming a dad was a life-changer.

“It keeps me in a positive mood all the time, no matter how much adversity I may be going through,” he said.

“When you have something pure and you have a chance to mold it, it’s energizing. It’s pretty much unexplainable the feeling that you get. You have the opportunity to make the best out of someone else’s life — and I’ve got two children to do that with.”

Bryan Singletary says he’s seen a maturation in his little brother.

“Those two girls are everything to him,” he said. “That’s the main reason he left the D-League to go overseas to make a little bit more money because he has to take care of those babies. He loves those babies.”

Singletary sees his mother in his daughters. He says when people meet Ava-Joe, they can’t believe she’s only 3.

“She’s very smart, polite and well-behaved,” Singletary said, beaming. “She has a large vocabulary already. She brushes her teeth by herself and knows where all the food is.

“My mother would always talk to her like a grown person and make her conduct herself like a smart human being, not like a baby. In turn, I continue to do that with her.”

Bryan Singletary can tell that his mom is always on his brother’s mind. 

“She saw him get drafted and how his career went,” he said. “He definitely wants to get back to where he should be just for her.”

Iguodala believes Singletary is in the right frame of mind to do it.

“He had a couple tough breaks,” Iguodala said, “but that’s what life’s kind of about. You’ve got to be mentally strong. I feel like he’ll be fine.”

Iguodala, who lost his own father in June, says he has gained strength from Singletary.

“I thought of [Singletary] when it happened,” said Iguodala, referring to his father’s death. “And I think that helped me fight through it.”

Singletary’s mother is with him wherever he goes. 

Literally.

On his left forearm arm is a large tattoo of her face. He also has three others that commemorate her, plus one that honors his grandmother, who recently died at the age of 90.

Singletary says he learned so much from his mom.

“When I think about her, I always think about being on your Ps and Qs,” he said, “and to check over things more than once, save your money, and have more tolerance for people in situations and be more patient.”

Jacqueline Singletary also told her son to know who his true friends are.

“When I got injured, people just distanced themselves from me,” Singletary said. “It was really crazy. 

“But it just gives me more motivation to get [back to the NBA] and prove people wrong.”

Singletary’s proudest basketball moment occurred when his mom was by his side at JPJ to see his jersey retired.

“She fueled a lot of my successes by showing so much strength and her will in trying to continue,” he said.

As an undersized guard, Singletary has always had that will in him. It’s a will that endeared him to UVa fans. It’s a will that makes you believe he’ll find joy no matter what he’s doing five years from now — even if he’s just playing a pick-up game on a scorching summer day at the Dell.

“By then, I’ll hopefully be married with a couple more kids,” said a smiling Singletary, when asked what life at 32 might look like. “The American dream — yard and a picket fence, some pets, and maybe down here [in Charlottesville]. It’s one of the best places to live in America.

“I’m just excited to see what the future holds.”

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