Kyle Hines is a 30 year old 198cm power forward from Sicklerville, New Jersey that recently completed his fourth season with CSKA Moscow averaging 7,7ppg, 3,4rpg and 1,3apg in the VTB and 8,5ppg and 4,3rpg in the Euroleague.. He is a powerful player who loves to attack the basket. Has a good 1-vs-1 game and likes to go inside. He is undersized to play the power forward, but his great wingspan (7-1) allows him to guard taller players and to intimidate. He’s also a great leaper and reads the opponent’s game well. He played at NC-Greensboro (NCAA) from 2004-2008. In his senior year, he played 31 games: 19.2ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.8spg, 3.1bpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3Pts: 12.5%, FT: 62.8%. He was invited to play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 17.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.3apg, 2.3spg, 3.3bpg, FGP: 78.6%, FT: 72.7%. He then had predraft workouts with Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA). He then went to Europe to Italy and played with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 34 games: 16.9ppg, Reb-4(8.6rpg), 3.0spg, Blocks-2(1.8bpg), FGP-2(66.0%), FT: 58.5%. In 2009, he took part in the Orlando Pro Summer League (Oklahoma City Thunder). In 2009-2010, he stayed in Italy with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 40 games: 18.5ppg, 8.1rpg, Steals-2(3.5spg), Blocks-4(1.6bpg), FGP-3(64.0%), 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 57.8%. He played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (New Orleans Hornets) in the summer of 2010.In 2010-2011 he played for the Brose Baskets Bamberg (Germany-1.Bundesliga): Euroleague: 10 games: 12.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 64.3%, FT: 46.7%; German League: 46 games: 10.4ppg, 4.6rpg, Blocks-3(1.2bpg), FGP-3(61.1%), 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 52.4%. He won the double with Bamberg. He played for Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A1) from 2011-2013 winning two Euroleague titles. The 6 time Euroleague Final 4 player and three time Euroleague winner spoke to German Hoops back home in New Jersey.
Kyle thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been going?
I am home in New Jersey now. I just got home 2-3 days ago. We won the VTB league about a week ago and after I spent a few more days in Moscow enjoying the city before coming back home
Have you bumped into your ex coach Chris Fleming? The NBA Draft is tomorrow. Did he reveal any talk about the Nets signing the German boy Isaiah Hartenstein?
I have not had the chance to talk to him yet. I saw Hartenstein play before and he was on the roster of the team we played against twice last season. I have been aware of him and know Chris also since he and the Nets do a good job scouting teams in Europe. I think that with his kill set, he has the potential to be an NBA player. I think he is a big man that can do a lot on the floor which other big men his size can´t. He is more of a face the basket skilled big man. I think for him making it, it will depend a lot on how well he can make the transition from Europe to the NBA.
Congrats on another great season with CSKA Moscow. Despite winning your fourth VTB title, do you have a little sour taste because you didn´t win another Euroleague title?
Of course. Our goal is it each season to win the Euroleague title. That is what we compete for and not getting that Euroleague title makes the season not as successful. But at the same time, last seasons team went through a lot and I feel just making it back to the Euroleague Final 4 was an accomplishment. Not winning the Euroleague is another big motivation for us to get better this summer so we can have the chance to win again in 2018.
CSKA Moscow reminds me a bit of Brose Bamberg who dominated the BBL playoffs as well having a 9-1 record. We have talked about this in past interviews, but explain again how important team character is? Skill wise the team will still be very good minus a De Colo and Teodosic, but be lacking much in the character department. How does this aspect separate CSKA Moscow from the rest of the VTB teams?
I feel that everyone saw our true character after we lost in the Euroleague Final 4. We didn´t sulk or were disappointed, but continued to be dominant in the VTB and beat very good Lokomotive and Khimki teams. We have very strong character guys that not only demand a lot from themselves, but also from each teammate. We all have strong characters on the team.
CSKA Moscow has won 6 VTB titles in a row and are just dominating this competition. With all the super character players on the team do you sense like the team hunger continues? What kind of feeling did you sense after winning that 6 VTB title in a row?
I think winning that sixth VTB title in a row is just as important as winning the first one in this run. We always want to be dominate in the domestic league as it is very important for the history of our club. I think now that this streaks continues, no team wants to be that team that ends the streak.
You reached 6 Euroleague final 4´s and won three. CSKA Moscow lost a nail bitter to Greek team Olympiacos 82-78. Does every new Euroleague Final 4 loss hurt even more simply because you never know if you will get there?
Yes it does, but I take it year by year. I remember when I played for Bamberg if somebody had told me that I would reach 6 Euroleague Final 4´s and win three, I would never have believed it. I learn through experience and the beauty about basketball is that there is always next year. That gives you the chance to try to win another one.
Olympiacos hit 14 three´s, but won only by four points. Where do you feel was this game lost?
I think rebounding and assists. They had a good shooting day as well and they had more possessions and we e had something like 6-7 assists, but averaged 23 during the season.
You signed until 2019 and will then have played six seasons with CSKA Moscow. There are still many other players not resigned while there are massive rumors that Milos Teodosic might go back to the NBA. How content are you that a majority of the team chemistry will stay intact?
I am confident that the club will do the best they can to keep that team chemistry. The management builds the team for one goal and that is to win the Euroleague. Management knows what it takes to win the Euroleague. I know that we will have a strong team again.
Ex ratiopharm Ulm forward Will Clyburn signed with CSKA Moscow. He has been a rising player in Europe the last three years. What do you know about his game?
We played against him twice last season. He is a dynamic athletic guard/forward that is streaky, but can score in bunches. I think that he will help our game and let us play at a faster pace. He also is valuable in that he can guard mulitiple positions 1-4 and sometimes the five. He is a very good addition and I am looking forward to playing with him.
There hasn´t been much fluctuation with players coming and going with CSKA Moscow, but if you could pick one guy that you would still love to play with now who would it be?
It would be my two teammates Teodosic and Aaron Jackson. I love Teodosic´s IQ and hope he returns. Jackson won´t return, but I grew very close with him the last four years. He was a very good teammate and our friendship grew.
You will be turning 31 next season and aren´t getting any younger. Are you past your prime?
No I don´t think so. I still feel like I have more to offer. I am not your typical big man, but they say that big men usually reach their prime later. Our assistant coach Darryl Middleton who played until he was 47 is always joking that he didn´t get warmed up until he was 35 years old. I hope that my best years are still coming.
Do you feel like your hunger for titles will be even bigger this upcoming season? Where have you learned to never be satisfied?
I am a lot hungrier now. After winning the Euroleague in 2016 and not last season, it is very difficult to accept and my hunger just grows more and more. I am more motivated to win now. I am getting older and I don´t know how much more chances I will get to be an a situation like the Euroleague Final 4. I have to take advantage of each practice and game and get better.
This past season you played 32 games VTB games averaging 7.7ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.3apg, FGP-2(69.9%), FT: 62.9%; Euroleague: 35 games: 8.5ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 65.0%, FT: 70.2%. In our last interview in December 2016 you stated I am trying to continue to do the little things that help my team win like finishing plays, making free throws and being a solid defensive player. My goal is always how I can put my team in the best position to win the game. Did you achieve that last season?
I think that I did at times. Obviously we didn´t win the Euroleague title, so I can´t say that I played to my best abilities last season. I am my harshest critic and I always know that I can do more on the floor no matter what the circumstances are.
In our last interview you also stated that . “being effective allows me to be on the court. If you aren´t effective then you are a liability”. What do you have to keep an eye on more of when you get older not to lose that effectiveness on the court?
I think just bringing energy and making smart plays is how you stay most effective as you get older.
Last season there were four other guys that were 30 like you and three other guys older. In what unique way do you feel are you able to shed your vast basketball experience on younger guys that nobody else can match on the team?
I have been fortunate enough to have been in every situation as a professional. I came from the second division in Italy and made it to the top. I have played seven Euroleague seasons and reached 6 Final 4´s. I think it is my goal to be able to give young players my expertise and experience to make their transition easier. I want them to avoid having to go through things that I went through.
You see them battle each day in practice, but seriously who would win the most one on one duels in a 10 games series Nando de Colo or Milos Teodosic?
I will stay neutral here going with a 5-5 record.
Brose Bamberg won their third title in a row and one can make the coaches comparisons between Trinchieri and Fleming. You played for both coaches. You have also seen the last years how Trinchieri built teams and led them to success. Who do you feel had the harder job of making the dynasty work?
I have to be honest. I think both had a hard job and were successful. I came to Bamberg in 2010 and Chris Fleming had to build a team to repeat which was hard. Fleming had core guys, but it still wasn´t easy trying to keep some key guys while trying to keep building that dynasty. Fleming also didn´t have the kind of budget that Trinchieri has today. It also hasn´t been easy for Trinchieri, because he had to replace Fleming and everybody kept measuring Trinchieri to what Fleming did. He had to live up to what Fleming did. Both are great coaches that did a great job making their teams belong to the best in Europe.
If you had to rate the team you saw this season and compare it to other teams like the one you were a part of in 10-11 could one consider that team as the best ever?
I will always go with the team I played on. We were a dominat team in the BBL and had some big wins in the Euroleague against Real Madrid and Olympiacos. I remember we beat top team Alba Berlin by more than 50 points. We had some future NBA players with Brian Roberts and Tibor Pleiss and had a very dominant player in Predrag Suput.
Everybody has their own Wolfgang Heyder story. He had huge success again helping put together a Gotha team that miraculously made it up to the BBL. How much of an impact did a mind like that have on a young American like yourself in 2010-2011?
I respect Wolfgang Heyder because he took a chance on me, a guy coming from the second division in Italy coming to a defending champion. I think most people wouldn´t have imagined any team doing something like that. I thank him and Brendan Rooney for giving me an opportunity that other teams wouldn´t have done. They helped me giving me a spring board for my career.
You battled against German Daniel Theis this season and seasons past. He played NBA Summer League in 2014 and there is talk he may land in Atlanta with his buddy Dennis Schroeder. Could he be a 10 minute NBA guy?
I think so. I think that he will be a good fit with the Boston Celtics. They have very dynamic guards in their system and need those special kind of bigs that know how to finish and make hustle plays. He is a very hardworking guy and has improved each season in Europe. I think that he has the potential to be an impact player in the NBA.
You have created the fascinating website www.myhoopjourney.com where the goal is to shed light on the unseen parts of the basketball journey. With almost no long term contracts, various styles of play, and a wide range of living and travel conditions, the professional life of an international player can present many challenges. Throw these things in with a dose of foreign culture and the journey of a player overseas often creates some of the most compelling and unique stories in sports that widely go untold. What has been the feed back and and what further steps do you plan in taking with this project?
We have had very good feed back so far with good articles and hoping to expand the site. We hope to continue to get unique stories about veterans, young players and coaches. We want to offer unique stories about players that you wouldn´t necessarily find elsewhere.
Lebron was stopped at another NBA title. Where do you see him now in the neverending debate about who is the best of all-time him or Michael Jordan?
MJ is still the best for me. He is from my era. This argument is so interesting, because you will always find different opinions from people from all the different era´s. MJ is undeniably the best of all-time.
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?
No not at all. If you look at his emotion, drive and passion, you can´t say that he is stacking his stats. He is just trying to everything possible to help his team win. It is unjust for you to say this about Westbrook.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The Beauty and the Beast with my daughter.
Thanks Kyle for the chat.