Aug. 10, 2009

By Jeff White

CHARLOTTESVILLE – When Sean Singletary is working on his shooting, rebounding for him isn’t the most strenuous activity. Mike Curtis, UVa’s new strength-and-conditioning coach for men’s basketball, can attest to that.

I stopped by the practice gym at John Paul Jones Arena the other day and caught the end of one of Singletary’s workouts. The former UVa point guard shot and shot and shot, and then shot some more, with astounding accuracy.

Curtis’s job essentially was this: Stand near the basket, collect the ball after it dropped through the net – which happened probably 80 percent of the time – and then pass it back to Singletary on the perimeter.

With summer school over, most of the current Virginia players have headed home for one final break before the start of fall classes. One of the Cavaliers’ all-time greats, however, is in town for a few more days, preparing for his second season in the NBA.

Until last week, Singletary had not been back to his alma mater since February, when his number – 44 – was retired in a ceremony at the JPJ. Back then, Dave Leitao was the Cavaliers’ head coach and Shaun Brown oversaw the team’s strength-and-conditioning workouts, and Singletary was close with both of them.

Leitao and Brown left in the spring, after the coaching change at UVa. Singletary admits it was a little strange not to see them at the JPJ.

“When you first get here, you kind of wonder why things are the way they are, but everything happens for a reason,” Singletary said. “I still talk to those guys.”

Singletary met Leitao’s successor, Tony Bennett, for the first time last week and came away impressed.

“He’s a pretty cool guy,” Singletary said. “We talked about Charlotte and his career, and how he hopes to build a strong program here, and I have total confidence that he can do that.”

Bennett spent three seasons as a backup point guard for the Charlotte Hornets. Singletary spent part of his rookie season as a backup point guard for the Charlotte Bobcats. But Charlotte wasn’t his only employer in 2008-09.

A second-round pick of the Sacramento Kings in the 2008 draft, Singletary was traded to Houston that August. Less than two weeks later, he was shipped to Phoenix. Then, in December, the Suns dealt him to the Bobcats.

Singletary finished his rookie year with combined averages of 2.4 points, 0.9 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 0.3 steals.

He recently wore another NBA uniform – that of the Detroit Pistons. In last month’s NBA summer league, Singletary averaged 7.4 points, 3.6 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals in about 16 minutes per game to help Detroit go 4-1.

Will he play for the Pistons this season? That’s a possibility, but Singletary’s agent is also talking to four other NBA teams. The goal is a guaranteed contract for Singletary, whose self-confidence hasn’t wavered.

“I know I can play,” he said.

At UVa, he was a four-year starter and a three-time member of the all-ACC first team. In the NBA, he’s often been a spectator. Still, Singletary said, he’s not discouraged by his professional odyssey.

“I know everything’s a business, and you’ve just got to wait your turn,” he said. “Somebody close to me, that played in the NBA and coached in the NBA but is just around the NBA now, said it’s like a roulette table. For some people, guys like me, you have to wait till it hits you. Your time’s going to come; you just have to wait for it.”

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