There was a time in the 70´s where the Montreal Canadians owned the hockey world establishing a special dynasty similar to what the Chicago Bulls mastered in the 90´s winning six NBA championships, but outlasting the Jordan´s and Pippen´s with their brilliance of hockey talent and sheer eloquence on the ice with the names of Lafleur, Gainey, Robinson and Dryden producing 8 titles and made these Gentlemen household names in Canada. Even if Ice Hockey isn´t the most played sport in Canada, it just seems like the countries most popular sport with the success of teams like the Montreal Canadians having a total of 24 Stanley Cups and the success rate of the Canadian national team that has won 26 Gold medals at World Championships and their biggest win of 47-0 against Denmark would be like the Cavs and Lebron James pouring in 350 points against the hapless Brooklyn Nets. Even if basketball has made strides in the last 7-8 years in Canada as it has sent more and more guys to the NBA with Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Ennis, Andrew Nicholson or Jamaal Murray just to name a few, it is out of fashion for the country to develop rare talent like a Rick Fox or a Steve Nash back in the day as nowadays it seems like a few new players reach the NBA each year. Currently it fields 354,000 kids playing the sport in the 3-17 age group, Ice Hockey is still king in comparison to basketball as 543,390 people lace up the skates which is 1,64% of the Canadian population. Canadian national basketball player Tyson Hinz could easily stroll down Rideau street in downtown Ottawa undetected where he hails from while Ottawa Senator Daniel Alfredsson might have a hard time dodging some autograph collectors and gawkers in cafés and even a more older Guy Lafleur would be recognized more than a HInz, but the basketball player is like a Montreal Canadian without skates, but just a tad better. Whereas the Montreal Caandians won 8 Stanley Cup titles in the 70´s, Hinz has accomplished his on impressive feat at only the age of 25 as he has also won 8 titles at Carleton(CIS), plus a Silver medal at the World University Games in Shenzhen (China) in 2011 in only 8 years and with his special lady luck and knack pf knowing how to mesh well with new teammates and teams and win titles, there will surely be new hardware added to his collection soon. He would have had even more had he been able to win in his first two professional seasons in Holland where he reached the semi´s and final, but he finally won his first professional title recently winning the German Pro A with 2004 Fiba Europe Cup winner Mitteldeutscher BC.
Hinz is a 201cm forward that learned his basketball trade at the well known Carleton University in Ottawa and in a span of five years won 7 titles including four CIS titles which is the equivalent of the NCAA title in Canada and three OUA championships.
Of course it didn´t hurt Hinz that he joined a winning tradition as the school has won 13 of the last 15 CIS championships under the guidance of their Phil Jackson like success magnate in head coach Dave Smart. Despite playing alongside some serious talent like the Scrubb brothers Phil who won his first professional title as a rookie with the Fraport Skyliners with the Fiba Europe Cup and has a brilliant basketball Eye-q and Tommy who had a stellar rookie season in Finland and has that versatile inside out game. Hinz quietly was able to find consistency at Carleton and felt like he was never in the shadow of the Scrubb´s at school. “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”, stressed Tyson Hinz. In his senior year the Canadian played 27 games averaging 15.4ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 61.1%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 76.1%. Hinz knew that being able to have had so much success not only on the court, but also developing the correct character traits has helped him to let it carry over to his professional career would not have been possible without the guidance of head coach Dave Smart. “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”, warned Tyson Hinz. Hinz started his professional basketball career in 2014 with Landstede Basketbal Zwolle (Holland-Eredivisie) playing two seasons there and being an important contributor to the teams success as it reached the playoffs twice. In his rookie season he played 38 games averaging 12.7ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.3apg, Steals-4(2.2spg), FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 75.3%. He was able to heighten his stats in his sophomore campaign as he played 35 games averaging 13.3ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.8apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 76.6%. He quickly proved that he had no problems coming from Canadian basketball to the European game as his consistent stats proved. “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”, warned Tyson Hinz. Despite scoring 23 points in game three of the finals in a win against Groningen, Zwolle and Hinz just couldn´t keep American Lance Jeter and Co in check as he suffered his second year in a row as a professional without a title. Hinz who got on the bike band wagon in Holland taking a bike to practice each day so he could immerse himself in the Dutch culture and get a view of his surroundings felt as if those first two years in Holland weren´t lost. “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”, warned Tyson Hinz. Even if Hinz was unable to add hardware to his collection in his first two professional seasons in Holland, his understanding of the game something that surely rubbed off of Philipp Scrubb at Carleton and always having that will to want to win something that he learned at Carleton helped him achieve his goals when he came to Germany in his third professional season. “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”, added Tyson Hinz.
Hinz came into a positive situation when he signed with the Mitteldeutscher BC in the summer in 2016 in that like Carleton, they were a very traditional club in that winning didn´t come second, but first and they had also gathered titles over the years with the 2004 FIBA Europe Cup and the 2009 and 2012 Pro A titles. Hinz was coming into a situation where it was expected to win the 2017 Pro A title as the team was yearning to move back up to the top league EasyCredit BBL after having been demoted the season before. Like at Carleton, Hinz arrived in the small 40,000 town Weissenfels with very high expectations of winning something that was as normal for him like Russell Westbrook notching triple doubles on a regular basis last season. The Canadian came to Germany already with the correct frame of mind that knowing that not only winning would be beneficial to his development. “Earning my way through promotion into the BBL was a great challenge for me and gave me the chance to prove that I am ready as a player to compete at the next level. I looked forward to the challenge, to improve and to grow as a player with the club”, stressed Tyson Hinz. One of the biggest problems that Hinz encountered with his new team MBC would be keeping his consistent stats from Holland in Germany as there was so much more talent with the German team and more firepower. Hinz wasn´t able to produce as high stats with MBC, but only one thing counted in his book and that was winning and growing as a player and he not only was able to make that a reality, but also got a feel of winning a title again. “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 wanted to be ready to play at that level when the opportunity showed itself. Playing for a team that was just in the BBL and hungry to get back was a great test for me as a player to prove to myself and others that I was ready for the next step. 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”, warned Tyson Hinz.
In his third professional season with the Mitteldeutscher BC, Hinz was back to his dominant self like in his Carleton days as the club dominated the German Pro A from day one and in the end compiled a 27-3 regular season record and cleaned up and left their opponents out to dry going 8-0 in the playoffs as they swept the RheinStars, Kirchkeim and Gotha to get back to the EasyCredit BBL. “We really came together as a team and played the style of basketball we wanted to play. The key to making playoff runs is to be playing your best basketball at that time and we saw that with us and Gotha”, added Tyson Hinz. In the final the Mitteldeutscher BC met a very capable opponent in Gotha that had a deep roster, but in the end the Mitteldeutscher BC was able to overpower them. “Gotha had an incredible season. They ran into countless challenges with roster and coaching changes and managed to play their best basketball in the end. They unfortunately ran into some injury problems for the finals but their team as a whole still battled and fought hard which was admirable. In game 1, we really got beat badly on the boards. They crashed hard on both ends as a team and we weren’t ready to respond to that. I thought in the second game we played with much better team spirit and energy while doing so, took care of the rebounding battle”, said Tyson Hinz.
The Mitteldeutscher BC just played the way they were capable of with the unending talent they had and the way they simply had to as they were simply a class or two above the rest. It took Hinz a bit more than three years to finally capture that eighth title and first as a professional, but it was a moment he really was used to even if it took a bit longer to occur again. “It was an amazing feeling. With how the Pro A works we had our first celebration when we qualified for promotion, which was fantastic but we all knew there was still something left to accomplish. I am glad the team was able to get the final two wins and finish the season knowing we accomplished our goal from the start”, said Tyson Hinz. Sometimes you have to wonder if after having got used to winning so many titles, if a favorite can actually stand out from the rest. But Hinz like a champion knows that each one has it´s special own significance. “Every championship is special, it doesn’t matter how many you have won. Every year is unique as you are with a different group of guys or a different club entirely. To celebrate the accomplishment as a team and to see the excitement on your teammates feelings who you’ve battled with all year is a wonderful feeling. Being the favourite to win put a target on our backs all year as everyone wanted to take us down but I thought we handled that as a team”, warned Tyson Hinz. MBC had a Golden State Warriors type of season and of course the team thought about the three loses that held them from a perfect season. “Finishing the year as champions and setting the total wins record (35-3) in the history of Pro A makes for quite a spectacular season. Obviously we would like to have those 3 losses back but they were part of our growth as a team. We learned from those losses and got better from them. The organization as a whole did an outstanding job putting together a championship caliber team from top to bottom”, stressed Tyson Hinz.
In his third professional season, Hinz didn´t have the overwhelming stats, but he didn´t have to when he had scoring machines like Andrew Warren, Marcus Hatten and Sergio Kerusch alongside and with Warren, Hinz met a type of competitive player that he had been used to interacting with at Carleton. “ He was always the guy trying to motivate his teammates to help them play at the highest level and when as a team we were lacking energy or focus he would always get us back on the right track. I am fortunate to have played with him this year”, stressed Tyson Hinz. In 38 games Hinz averaged 8.4ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 81.5%. . For a guy who has always been a scorer in school and in Holland, he saw his experience with the Mitteldeutscher BC more of a different kind of role than a different type of role. “I learned a lot this year in my 3rd year as a pro. At the beginning of the year I did see it as less of a role but I think that was my problem. It is much more a different role than less of a role. Each player when they step on the floor has a role that is vital to the teams success. Not everyone can score 25+ a game, you need guys to defend, rebound and keep our rhythm in the game. As the year went on I tried to do all the little things to help our team win while still being aggressive looking for opportunities to score”, stressed Tyson Hinz. Hinz scored in double figures in 14 of 38 games including big games in the playoffs against the RheinStars and Kirchheim. Three months into his season in Germany, the Canadian stressed the importance of being as efficient as possible on the court and improve as a defensive player and seemed to have met those goals. “The great thing about basketball is there is always room for improvement, always something to improve. I think I reached those goals but as the season ends and the off season approaches the goals don’t fade away. I have a couple months to work on my game and prepare for next season”, warned Tyson Hinz.
It will be interesting to see what the next step for Hinz will be. The Mitteldeutscher BC decided not to reward him and take him to the EasyCredit. The summer is winding down and Hinz is still unsigned as he continues to seek that next golden opportunity. He has a few months time to keep working on his game and knows where his game needs improvement. “There is always room for improvement in all aspects of my game but two things I would like to work on is my overall strength and foot speed. Throughout the year most of the weight lifting is done to maintain your body so that you are ready for games. Now that it is the off season I can have more time to recover”, expressed Tyson Hinz. Hinz will never forget that unending competitive spirit of the Scrubb brothers at Carleton, but with both missing almost the whole last season, Hinz knows that when they meet again this summer in Ottawa, they will be overflowing with spirit which in turn will help him get a tad better once again over the summer. “It is truly unfortunate that both of them weren’t able to play much or at all this season. I am looking forward to seeing them healthy this summer. Since they have been out for a while I am sure their competitive side has had them dying to get back on the court so they will be fun to play with or against”, warned Tyson Hinz. At least they won´t be quarreling about the Montreal Canadians since all three reside in Ottawa and don´t need to be jealous of all the Le Habs 24 Stanley Cup titles since combined the three have 24 titles as players and give them those very special bragging rights over Canada´s team the Montreal Canadians in Ottawa.