A #44 Sean Singletary Jersey hangs in the rafters at the John Paul Jones Arena, but he hasn’t been back for a game at his old stomping grounds since graduating in 2008.
After retiring from professional basketball this summer and relocating to the Charlottesville area a month ago, Singletary is hoping to get back to JPJ to relive some old memories.
Singletary was at the Waynesboro Family YMCA on Tuesday to work out a duo of high-school basketball players that he has been coaching, part of his transition from playing to teaching.
“I just want to stay with the game, stay around the game. I think I have a wealth of knowledge in basketball, and I just want to teach kids,” said Singletary, who played in the NBA, the NBA D-League and in Europe for parts of six seasons before retiring following the 2013-2014 season.
Now a father of two, Singletary settled in Crozet earlier this fall, and is focused on building for the next phase of his life, one that he wants to remain grounded in basketball. In addition to coaching players one-on-one, Singletary has led three coaching clinics, including one coming up in Richmond later this month.
He’s also getting used to “daddy time,” as he calls it, with his two daughters.
“I didn’t want to be away from them traveling so much,” he said of one of the key advantages to his more stable post-basketball life.
“This is a smooth transition,” Singletary said. “I get to stay in the game and teach kids. I love being around kids. I love teaching kids. It’s rewarding giving them the message and seeing them out there performing.”
Singletary lights up talking about his alma mater and its basketball team, the defending ACC regular-season and tournament champions starting the 2014-2015 season in the national Top 10.
“It’s wonderful to see. It’s refreshing to see,” Singletary said. “Those kids are great kids, high-character kids. (Coach Tony Bennett) brings in high-character kids, kids who are willing to learn and just go out there and play hard every game. It’s wonderful to see them win, ranked in the Top 10, as a former UVA player. I wish them the best this season.”
And he plans to be able to wish the team the best in person courtside at the arena that he helped open with a memorable 93-90 win over #10 Arizona in November 2006 in one of the louder moments in UVA sports history.
“I’ve watched games on TV and on the Internet when I was in Europe, but I haven’t actually been in JPJ during any of these games. Hopefully I’ll catch all the home games this year since I’ll be in town. I’m excited to be back in the gym and feel the electric crowds. It will probably bring back a lot of memories,” Singletary said.
– Column by Chris Graham