Kent State opened the 2006-07 season with great expectations for highly touted freshman Chris Singletary, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound guard from Chicago, Ill. Singletary didn't disappoint as he averaged over eight points per game at the BCA Classic at Ohio State last weekend.
But, a team rules violation earned him a one-game suspension that held him out of the Golden Flashes home opener last Saturday against Detroit. Kent State won that game, 61-48.
Missing the home opener motivated Singletary to play hard on Tuesday at home against Temple to earn back the trust from his coaches and teammates.
"That kind of bothered me a little bit," he said. "At the same time I just had to accept what happened and move on to the next game and come out and play hard and put that behind me.
"I just wanted to play hard. It was emotional, the crowd was into it, I was into it, the team was hyped and my teammates were rooting me on. I just wanted to step up and show my coaches and teammates they could have trust in me."
Singletary was held scoreless in eight minutes of play during the first half as Temple jumped out to a 29-19 halftime lead. But, he turned it on in the second half and finished with eight rebounds and four points in 23 minutes.
"In the second half he started playing the way we expect him to play," Kent State head coach Jim Christian said. "He played hard. The play he made under the basket was the biggest play of the game; he dove on a loose ball. That is something he wouldn't have done when he came here. He's definitely making progress and that's something we are excited about."
The play Christian referred to might have sealed Kent State's come from behind 63-54 victory. Singletary sacrificed his body to recover a loose ball to maintain possession for the Golden Flashes with 1:34 remaining in the game and Kent State leading by four.
"Coach is real big on getting on the floor and I haven't been doing that," Singletary said. "That just clicked in and I just went ahead and sacrificed my body and dove on the floor. Actually, it wasn't that bad. I see guys that dive on the floor with their floor burns and that kind of scares me but to be honest, it's not that bad when you get the ball and get the timeout. Seeing the smile on coach's face, that was the best feeling."
Christian was pleased with the way Singletary responded to the suspension.
"He just played hard," Christian said. "He played hard, he played smart and he played with fire; it was great to see. It was a huge step forward for him. I knew he would respond. He's a really good player. He still has a lot to learn and he works at it but he really responded when we needed him to today. I told him not to think so much, just kind of lose yourself in the game; play as hard as you can play and worry about all the other stuff later. I think that's what he did tonight. I think he earned a lot of respect back from his teammates tonight and that's what he needed to do."
Through four games Singletary is averaging 7.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. The eight rebounds against Temple were a career high as were his 10 points in the opener against South Dakota State.