MADRID — Former Duke forward Kyle Singler is in no rush to start his NBA career, saying Thursday he decided to sign with Real Madrid because of the quality of basketball in Spain.
While other NBA players flock back to the United States with the lockout finally over, Singler has opted to stay in Europe to continue his development.
Singler was taken by the Detroit Pistons with the No. 33 pick in the draft. He had been playing with Spanish team Lucentum Alicante during the lockout.
“I thought here in Spain there was good basketball to be played. There was no rush to go to the NBA and play there,” Singler said. “I wanted to come here and play for Madrid, play for a great club and next year have the opportunity to go to the NBA.”
Moving to the Spanish capital has given Singler the chance to play in the Euroleague, where he debuted Wednesday and scored eight points in 24 minutes in Madrid’s 101-83 win over Partizan.
Singler said the Pistons were eager for him to return.
“I haven’t talked to them very much but when I decided to stay I know they were a little disappointed,” Singler said. “But I wasn’t really focused on that. I was making a decision that was best for me.”
Madrid will look to Singler to fill the gap left by Spanish forward Rudy Fernandez, who has returned to the NBA with Denver. Madrid has also lost Serge Ibaka, who jumped back to Oklahoma City after the lockout ended.
Singler was the NCAA Final Four most outstanding player for Duke in 2010, helping the program win its fourth national title.
His next challenge will be picking up the language in Spain.
“I can understand more than I can speak,” the American forward said. “I hope I can improve my Spanish. It’s not very good.”