Monday, May 08, 2006

Down but never out

When Sean Singletary goes under the knife to fix his injured hip it will be like peeling back years of abuse and pain.

Last season Singletary reaggravated a hip injury he had had since high school in a road contest against Georgia Tech. He sat out for the next game, Fordham, only to see his team completely fall apart without their leader and lose 63-60. As a result Singletary stepped up and played despite immense pain and mobility issues. He was the difference however, taking a team destined for the ACC cellar and earning a 7-9 conference record along with a spot on the 1st string all-ACC team for it's co-captain, something that had not been done in over a decade.

So do you think he's going to let surgery slow him down?

After two years of frustration things are slowly beginning to come into place for the Philadelphia, Pa. star who turned down offers from major programs like UConn and now plays for one of its former assistant coaches, Dave Leitao. It must have been hard for Singletary looking at what he gave up to come to Charlottesville, but now he has a chance to put the Cavaliers back on the national stage. His star power is undeniable, ESPN said earlier this year if Singletary played on a top 25 team he'd be a household name. Who could blame them? Singletary has started to make the extraordinary routine. His slashing ability in the paint, his ability to dsitribute under pressure and to make clutch shots like its shoot around shows just what a phenom he is.

With their new guide Leitao, Virginia will move into the John Paul Jones Arena, light years beyond the lovable but old-fashioned clam-shaped U-Hall. Will the bigger stage relate to a bigger national presence? It will if Singletary has anything to say about it.

Singletary showed flashes of brilliance his freshman year. His 15 points, 8 assists and 6 steals against 10th ranked Arizona gave Virginia won if its biggest wins in the past four years. He played toe-to-toe with some of the top point guards in the country. His sophomore year however, Singletary showed something even more impressive: leadership. If he's not barking orders or making clutch shots, than he is rushing to the basket drawing contact and getting to the line. Singletary refuses to lose, even with the odds stacked against the "6 feet on a good day" PG.

Nevertheless, losing is what Virginia has become accustomed too. It's been 5 years since Virginia last sniffed the NCAA tournament, despite Singletary's meteoric rise in the program and in the nation, his team has never finished with a winning record. That looks to change next year with a new crop of freshmen to provide much needed depth. Singletary wanted to work on his game in the interim but will be forced to rehab instead. That's okay, pain is nothing to Singletary.

Losing however, is excruciating.


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