History of the Tournament

A senior project was the genesis for Southern Oregon’s premier basketball tournament. 

Before playing in the NBA, Kyle Singler was a South Medford High School senior in 2007. His project was required for graduation, but Kyle wanted to create something with staying power in Medford, as a way of giving back to the community that had been so supportive during his formative years in the sport.  

With help from Tom Cole, Executive Director of Kids Unlimited, Kyle got his project off the ground. In addition to a few sleepless nights in Kyle’s first year, the tournament hosted 19 teams from around Southern Oregon and Northern California. Revenue totaled $1,000, which all went to Kids Unlimited. 

After the tournament’s inaugural year, Kyle enlisted the help of his parents, Ed and Kris Singler, and brother, Oregon Ducks standout EJ Singler, to ensure its growth and expansion. With continued support from Tom Cole, his staff and numerous volunteers, the Singlers have grown the tournament’s participation over the past 17 years and its financial support to Kids Unlimited. Singler went on to lead Duke University to an NCAA national title and played for seven seasons in the NBA.

In 2022, the Singler Open was rebranded the Southern Oregon Open. Teams comprise boys and girls in grades 5-12 who play in 10 gyms, including Kids Unlimited’s, around the region. Despite the two-year pause amid the COVID pandemic, the tournament proved its staying power and promised hope of a legacy. 

The following year, the tournament doubled its participation and reclaimed its historical prominence. Of the 186 teams competing, 165 traveled from outside the area  — California, Nevada and elsewhere in Oregon. The event was projected to bring approximately $1 million in revenue to Southern Oregon through hospitality.  

Kyle envisioned a tournament different from other AAU events in which kids already play. Here are some aspects that make the weekend so memorable for players:

  • Each participant gets a free T-shirt. In the past, each design was created by Kyle, himself, usually reflecting his interests at the time. Today, T-shirts are designed by Kids Unlimited’s in-house media and design staff.
  • A special event is offered each year during the tournament. In the past, Kyle’s brother, EJ Singler, provided basketball skills competitions or a clinic format where he discussed and performed drills that made him an Oregon Duck standout. This year, the T-Mobile free throw contest is back on the schedule.