WATCH: David Singleton Talks Leadership, Bonding With Mick Cronin

One of the Pac-12’s most prolific 3-point shooters has played more games than any other Bruin across his five-plus seasons in Westwood.

UCLA men’s basketball guard David Singleton spoke to reporters ahead of Wednesday morning’s practice at the Mo Ostin Center. Singleton talked about what happened with Adem Bona at the end of the Washington game, how he has eased into a leadership role, what the USC rivalry means to him, what makes the Trojans dangerous, how his mindset changes when he’s in the starting lineup and how he has bonded with coach Mick Cronin over the years.

Can you talk about the moment of you keeping Adem out of trouble and what went into it?

Um, I just saw – you know, we were up big, you know, there was no point in really, you know, talking to them. You know, I don’t allow the guys to talk to other players, you know? That’s not who we are, that’s not what UCLA stands for, so I had to remind him of that. I had no problem explaining that to him, but in the heat of the moment, I might’ve went overboard, but we hashed it out in the huddle. You know, it’s all good.

Waking up on USC gameday, what does it mean to you?

It means everything to me. As an LA kid, everyone knows I’m from LA. You know, I’ve always been a UCLA fan, so, you know, this is part of the reason why I went to UCLA, you know, to face off against USC. They’re a great team, great coaches, so it’s gonna be a great game to play and that’s what we come here for, to play great games.

Did you sense a shift this season that it was time for you to have your voice as a leader?

Uh, in the summer, I just knew coming in – you know, I just, before the freshmen came in, I looked around, there wasn’t too many players on my – ok, so not a lot of players are gonna know what to expect, know what to do, and they always ask me a bunch of questions. So I just knew I had to be more vocal for some of the older guys too, and the younger guys. But that’s what we need, we need a leader and I’m here to do it.

Coach said he sees a lot of himself in you – how has your relationship with him evolved over your time here?

I was happy to have coach Cronin, cause I was looking – he’s the winningest coach under 50 – cause I didn’t know who he was til he came in. I obviously knew he was at Cincinnati, but I didn’t know who he was. But over time, I’ve started to feel – I’ve started to understand coach cause he helped me grow as a player and as a person, on and off the court. So I started, you know, I’m buying into his ideals and everything like that, so he’s really helped me grow as a person.

What makes USC dangerous? What do you have to look out for?

Drew Peterson, he’s second in assists in the Pac-12 right now, so what makes him dangerous is he’s a scorer and he’s a willing passer. Boogie Ellis, you know, a great point guard, you know, can really great his shot. And we just have to be ready to match their intensity as a team, you know? They come fired up, ready to play every time, so we have to meet their intensity.

Surprised by how good you guys have been offensively under a coach with a defense-first reputation?

I’m not really surprised. I honestly feel like we can get better, cause I know we have a lot of team chemistry, willing passers on the team – Tyger and Jaime, our main scorers, are willing passers, you know, that just opens the game up, allows everyone to grow and get better through the season goes on, which is what we need for the freshmen as well. So I honestly feel like we’re not even at our peak yet. I feel like I try to push these guys, try to push myself, you know, to be, like, great everyday. I don’t want to have good practices, I want to have great practices every day.

Feel different stepping on the floor for this rivalry game?

Um, it’s not – different’s not really the word. It’s obviously, like, a big game, rivalry game, but we approach every game with intensity. But, you know, it’s just, you know, it’s just that feeling that, you know, you can’t really put into words. That inside feeling like, you know, we have to beat them, you have no choice. We have to beat them, all-out effort, leave it all on the court.

How easy is it for you to slide into the starting lineup? Change anything for you when you know you are gonna start?

It doesn’t change at all. I mean, whatever, I don’t come in thinking ‘Oh, I’m gonna start’ or ‘Oh, I’m gonna come off the bench.’ I come in whenever the team needs, that’s what Imma do today, whatever. If I need to come off the bench and provide energy, or I need to start and, you know, play a leadership role and be aggressive early, whatever the team needs, that’s what I come into every game with, so it doesn’t change for me.

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