Tyson Hinz is a 24 year old 20cm forward from Ottawa, Canada that is playing his third professional season and first in Germany with the Mitteldeutscher BC: He played the last two seasons with Landstede Basketbal Zwolle (Holland-Eredivisie) playing a total of 73 games and last season played 35 games averaging 13.3ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.8apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 76.6%. He started his basketball career at Carleton University (CIS) in 2009 and played there until 2014 playing a total of 123 CIS games and as a senior played 27 games averaging 15.4ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 61.1%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 76.1%. There he won four CIS titles and three OUA titles. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball earlier in the summer after signing with the Mitteldeutscher BC.
Tyson thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
At the moment I am in Ottawa, Canada. I grew up here and it’s also where I attended university. It’s the perfect place for me to be during the summer months because I get to train and spend time with family.
With the Scrubb brothers being away for some weeks with the national team were you able to get in some time in the lab at some point this summer or did you guys go your separate ways?
I did miss training with Phil and Tommy throughout the summer. Almost every day during the week there are scrimmages being held at Carleton University with the current players as well as many former and current pros. Having Phil and Tommy there for scrimmages adds an extra competitive edge which takes them to another level.
You played your first two seasons in Holland with Landstede Basketbal Zwolle (Holland-Eredivisie) where you were a semi-finalist as a rookie and finalist last season. Wasn´t there the urge to win the title in your third year as the club seemed to be progressing step by step in the last two years?
Obviously going back to Zwolle for a third year and finally winning the championship was a legitmate option for this season. Once, Mitteldeutcher BC offered me a spot on their roster it was a difficult decision to make but also a tough offer to turn down. There have been many Carleton University Alumni who have played in Germany; Phil Scrubb, Aaron Doornekamp, Osvaldo Jeanty, to name a few, and they’ve all spoken very highly about the league. Long term, I felt that this was the best option for me and I will bring that same desire and hunger to win a championship to Weissenfels. Landstede was great to me over my two years there and I want to thank them for all that they have done for me. I wish them the best of luck this year and hope this is the year they win it all!
You now have made the jump to Germany to the Pro A? What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball besides the fact that your ex teammates Philip and Thomas Scrubb will be battling against each other this season?
I am very excited to be given the opportunity to play in Germany. Since leaving university and entering the professional market, one of my goals has always been to play in the BBL. I have a lot of respect for the basketball in Germany at all levels and love the passion the country has for the sport. I still have much to learn about Germany as a country, but the proximity of Holland to Germany gave me a number of chances to visit the country. From the few trips I have made I think Germany is a beautiful country and can’t wait to see more of it.
What was so appealing to joining the Mitteldeutscher BC? What were the main factors for you making this decision?
Knowing that Mitteldeutscher BC has been in the BBL 6 out of the past 7 years was a large factor in making this decision. I know the club wants to make it back into the BBL, which aligns perfectly with my goals. Earning my way through promotion into the BBL is a great challenge for me and will give me the chance to prove that I am ready as a player to compete at the next level. I look forward to this challenge, to improve and to grow as a player with the club.
How excited are you to be playing against ex teammate Grant Gibbs this season? Have you guys set any friendly wagers yet about who will take the games?
Playing these past two years with Grant has been a great experience. On the court, our vision was quite similar and we got along well off the court. We have been messaging back and forth all summer updating each other on plans for the upcoming year. I can’t wait to battle against him this year and I am sure that closer to the game some “friendly” wagers will be made.
Do you see yourself continuing to bike in Germany? Weissenfels is a very small town of 40,000 and everything is very close to each other?
One of my favourite things outside of the basketball scene in Holland was how easy it was to get from place to place with my bike. I will for sure try to find a bike when I get there. Biking to practice was always a nice way to immerse myself in the culture and view the city. It also is a great way to start warming up for practice.
How do you feel has your game progressed in your first two professional seasons from when you left Carleton University?
I have learned many things about the professional basketball world on and off the court since leaving Carleton, but I think the biggest thing I have improved on is being able to play well against high level professionals who are often bigger, faster or stronger. In Canada, all of my competition ranged from guys aged roughly 17-24, overseas the age gap is much wider and there are guys who have spent 10+ years as professionals. Each year I try to learn from veterans on what helped them be successful and apply it to my game.
Let´s talk a bit about your game? You’re a 201cm forward. You can score and rebound very well, but your defense really stands out. What would you say is your biggest strength on the court?
I think my biggest strength on the court is a combination of my basketball IQ as well as my competitive drive. I am always trying to learn and improve my knowledge of the game. The great thing about basketball is that there is always something to learn and something to work on. I also take pride in my relentless attitude on the court, in my two years in Holland I tried to always make the extra effort to get that one extra rebound, take a charge or come up with a 50-50 ball. These two qualities have really helped me develop as a player and have helped me get to where I am today.
You can really fill out the stats sheet, but what would you say is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court from observers?
I have always taken pride in my footwork. I have never been the fastest player or the type of player who can jump out of the gym, so to make up for my limited natural athleticism I’ve worked hard to perfect my footwork in order to be successful..
As a rookie with Landstede Basketbal Zwolle (Holland-Eredivisie) you played 35 games averaging 13.3ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.8apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 76.6%. You had no problems adjusting to a new league and culture after coming from the tried-and-true that you were accustomed to at Carleton. What do you believe made the adjustment period easy for you? Possibly that basketball is the same everywhere?
To a certain degree basketball is the same everywhere. There are obviously some differences from country to country, but I think playing 5 years at Carleton University under Dave Smart and his phenomenal coaching staff has best prepared me for adjusting to different styles of play. Many of the things I learned at Carleton, such as discipline and toughness, can help me as a player regardless of what offense or defense is being used.
You improved your stats as a professional and now your going into your third season as a professional and have to learn a new system and league again. In what direction do you see your development phase heading now in Germany?
I am always trying to learn and grow as basketball player. Being in a new country and a new league will be a great opportunity to do just that. As previously mentioned my goal has always been to play in the BBL, but I also want to be ready to play at that level when the opportunity shows itself. Playing for a team that was just in the BBL and hungry to get back is a great test for me as a player to prove to myself and others that I am ready for the next step
You had a very illustrious career at Carleton winning four CIS tournaments and three OUA tournaments. After winning so much at the university level how do you feel can that winning gene continue to grow on the professional level?
Every year, no matter which country I am in, I always try to bring a winning attitude to each team’s roster. Winning is hard, it never comes easy and I enjoy that challenge and try to push my teammates to reach the ultimate goal of basketball – to win.
You played with great talent at Carleton with the Scrubb brothers. It seemed like Philip Scrubb really took a lot of the press. Your stats were very spectacular, but did you ever seem like you were in the shadow of him?
Never. Phil and Tommy are exceptional teammates as well as incredible players on the court. We worked well off each other and played to each other strengths. If Phil was playing well, he would draw more attention helping me to get great looks and vice versa. All three of us always have winning as a team as our end goal, not to get noticed individually. We were fortunate enough to win the National Championship each year we played together.
How did head coach Dave Smart groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Carleton?
For all the things I learned on the court from Dave, I learned just as much off the court. Coming into Carleton at the age of 17 I had lots to learn basketball wise, but even more personally. Through Dave I learned how to develop a proper work ethic, what it means to always give 100% and how to be responsible. Things that all sound very simple at first glance, but take many hours of practice and diligence to truly excel.
Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert has stated that if Philip Scrubb wants to make the NBA, he needs to become more aggressive. Do you see him making that step down the road?
Phil is a phenomenal player, probably one of the best I have every played with. Naturally, as all players do, he has things he can improve that will help him get to the next level but I think he has the ability and mindset to play in the NBA when his time comes.
What was your nicest memory playing with Philip and Thomas Scrubb and could you say that those two guys are friends for life?
It is hard to compare each one but I think each time winning a National Championship at Carleton ties for the nicest memory with those two. Playing with Phil for 4 years and Tommy for 5 we have been through many highs and lows on the basketball court, but each time we fought together to get past obstacles and came through in the end. Through all the failures and successes you grow trust and a strong relationship and I would without a doubt say that they are friends for life.
Who was the toughest player that you played against in the last years that is in the NBA now?
I think the toughest player I have played against would be J.J Barea. I played against him with Team Canada while we are at the Pan American games in Mexico. For a guy his size it is incredible how well he can create for his teammates and score the ball.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore and chose 4 NBA heads which best four would you pick?
My NBA Rushmore would be Jordan, Bird, Russell and Lebron
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs where does this further NBA title put him against the best that ever played the game?
Lebron is obviously one the all-time greats and is a joy to watch compete at the highest level. Only time will tell how he stands up against Jordan.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Tyson for the chat.