Kyle Hines is a 30 year old 198cm power forward from Sicklerville, New Jersey that is playing his fourth season with CSKA Moscow. 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. Last season for CSKA Moscow he played 39 games averaging 8.4ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 64.9%, 3PT-3(50.0%), FT: 63.0%; Euroleague: 29 games: 10.9ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 67.4%, FT: 65.8%.He spoke to German Hoops before the Euroleague game in Bamberg.
Kyle thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how are you enjoying basketball life at age 30?
I am in Moscow at home. I have experienced so much in Europe in the last years and it´s been an incredible journey for me. My 20´s went well with basketball and I hope it will continue in my 30´s.
Do you ever ponder about how much longer you will still be able to play?
I think every player thinks about the magic number. I am taking it year by year and hope to play as long as I can. In the long run, it isn´t really up to the player but your body and the market. I hope that I can stay healthy and play at the highest level for many more years.
You were used to colder winters growing up in New Jersey, but how have you learned to deal with the brutal winter´s of Russia over the last years?
I think that after a while I have gotten used to the winters in Russia. I am from the east coast and kind of got away from it when I played in Greece from 2011-2013. I really enjoyed the sun there. In Russia, it is important that you stay bundled up. You try to do as much as possible inside in Russia. There are tunnels to stores. You try to do as many activities indoors here.
You are 30 now and are playing your ninth professional season. How is your body and mentality holding up right now?
It is holding up pretty well. I had an injury over the summer which had me miss the pre-season. This was a set back for me, but I got in shape as the season went on. I would like to say that I still feel effective at age 30. I have been blessed and fortunate to have been playing at a high level and hope that it will continue.
Have you begun to notice that you aren´t 25 anymore, but getting older?
I definitely don´t feel like I am 25 anymore. I try to be more cautious with recovery and taking care of my body.
Do you notice things happening at times on the court where you make different decisions just to keep your body going instead of it suffering unneeded stress?
I don´t know. I still am playing my position and using my style. I have a high motor and as you get older you have use your experience and intelligence on the court. I am not wild or play out of control on the court. At my age, I don´t need to always rely on my athleticism, but more my basketball wisdom.
You are playing your fourth season with CSKA Moscow and have won four titles there. After two Euroleague finals back to back, you finally won it last season. How do you keep yourself and teammates from still being hungry this season and not losing that feeling?
We really have no choice. We play so many games against so many teams in the Euroleague and VTB that each game is crucial. It doesn´t matter if we are playing a Real Madrid or low ranked VTB team, every team is always giving their best against us. Each team knows that they are playing against one of the best teams and then against big tradition with CSKA. Each time we step on the court, each guy has to give their best effort. We know that our opponent will be very motivated, but we have to be more motivated.
Currently the club is 15-1 in Euroleague and VTB play. You are used to winning like few others. You lost a few weeks ago to Turkish team Darussafaka and an ex Bamberg player Brad Wanamaker was a big reason why. Does losing become harder with age?
I think that every player takes losing hard especially when you haven´t played your best brand. We let up easy opportunities against them and didn´t play our best. That frustrated me more than the loss.
Once again the team has stayed together except for two new players coming this season. Team chemistry is the obvious as too why there is so much success this season, but what else do you fee is the secret behind the team success this season?
Our chemistry is very strong as we have many guys back and we know each other well. I think the other big strength is that everyone knows their role. We have no guy that wants to outperform the other or get out of their role.
CSKA Moscow brought one new American with ex NBA player James Augustine? He knows the European building as well as the VTB league and played the last four years with BC Khimky Moscow Region. This team is a Moscow city rival with you, but despite the size of the city did you ever have any deals with him over the last three years off the court or was it only on the court?
More on the court, but also some off the court. We all have mutual friends with the other team and here and there we see each other at a players birthday party.
Augustine brings stability form the bench and is another big body. What do you believe is his biggest strength on the court?
He has a lot of experience and has played a lot of international games. He is very agile and very athletic and is an underrated post player and mid distance game. He is a high quality player that gives us another component on offense and defense.
What have you learned to appreciate the most from ex NBA player Joel Freeland? As a Brit how have you experienced his charachter and humor?
He is one of the most charismatic guys on the team. He is always laughing and telling jokes. He has a great character and despite being injured, he was always positive and gets along with everyone in the locker room.
What has been your most fierce wow effect so far this season when watching Nando De Colo and Milos Teodosic on the court together?
Mentioning one thing is difficult, because they do so much. I have seen them do it for the last years. They both make spectacular plays. Teodosic makes great no look passes. He had one of those in pre-season against Athens. He makes the game look so easy. Sometimes I don´t know how he makes those passes. De Colo is a great shooter and creator. Sometimes you can only shake your head as too how he made a shot. They have so much talent and I am very lucky to be able to play with them.
As always you have very solid stats in both competitions. What are you focusing most on your game this season on the court?
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.
How much more does effectiveness become on the court for Kyle Hines with each new season?
That is the most important part for me. Being effective allows me to be on the court. If you aren´t effective then you are a liability.
Your returning back to Bamberg this week. It has been five years since you last played there. Do you ever wonder how a Kyle Hines would have functioned with them last season?
I know their coach well since he was my first coach in Europe. I know their style and I hope that I could function in any system. They had a very good team last season that had their most successful season in the Euroleague. They have a great tradition in Bamberg and it continues to grow season by season.
Bamberg is the big unlucky team so far having lost five games by four or less points and three games by one point. How dangerous is this team?
They lost some real close games and their record doesn´t reflect how they play. They were up big in some games and had control, but still lost. They are very strong at home. We know how dangerous they are and will be ready.
Is controlling the boards and wearing them down inside a key for success?
Yes that is always the key for us. When we can secure rebounds, it gives us more possessions and opportunities to score and it also allows us to control the tempo.
Last week you destroyed Spanish team Baskonia 112-84 in the Euroleague. What was your impression of German Johannes Voigtmann? Does he have NBA game?
Yes he does from what I have seen on film and in person. He is very skillful and you don´t see many big men step out and shoot the way he does. He has that perimeter style, but also can play with the back to the basket. He plays the modern game of basketball.
You recently wrote a very interesting blog concerning your experiences living in three different countries and witnessing three US presidential elections from the European perspective. Did you ever lean back and think how blessed you have been for living so long in Europe and making an amazing living?
Each day I thank the Lord that I am fortunate to be able to play the game I love. I have been blessed to have seen some of the most amazing places and live in cities that some save up a lifetime to visit. It has been very humbling having experienced so many places.
Which presidential election was the most intense for you to be a part of in Europe?
I wrote the blog, because I experienced it in three different places. When I look back, I realized that each election and place I lived in were different. My opinions at 30 was different than at 21.
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where do you rank him with all the best that ever did it in the NBA?
Garnett is definitely top 2 or 3 for me. He is up there with the Duncan´s, Malone´s and Barkley´s. He was one of the first to come out of high school and have success in the NBA. I think that if he hadn´t had that success then you may not have seen Kobe have that success either. He was a role model for everyone on and off the court. Every athlete would love to have emulated a career like that.
Where will the journey of the Golden State Warriors end this season? Will they string up a big winning streak after the all-star race?
They have played very well and will get hot. They will be a force all season and win the NBA title
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Kyle for the chat.