Kyle Hines is a 31 year old 198cm power forward from Sicklerville, New Jersey that is playing his fifth season with CSKA Moscow and currently is averaging 9,5ppg, 4,7rpg and 1,1apg in the Euroleague and in the VTB is averaging in the VTB and 10,3ppg, 4,0rpg and 1,3apg. 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. German Hoops did its 14th interview with the 6 time Euroleague Final 4 player and three time Euroleague winner before the Euroleague game in Bamberg.
Kyle thanks for talking to German Hoops. This is our 14th interview since you played in Moscow. In our first interview you were a non Euroleague winner. Now you have three Euroleague titles. Has time flown by since Bamberg?
When I first became a professional, I was aiming to play at least 10 years, and now when I look up it has been 10 years. It feels like yesterday when I was playing with Bamberg. I am a 8 year Euroleague veteran and the game is still so fun for me. I don´t feel like 31 and hope I can still play the game for a long time.
Since our last interview in June, almost six months have passed. You’re 31 years old. What was your main focus last summer on the court so that you would be best prepared for this upcoming season?
It mainly was small things. Just making sure my conditioning and stamina is correct. I only took one to two weeks off last summer, before getting back into the gym. I also looked for ways to work on being more dynamic around the basket and working on my free throws. Last season I had a hand injury and didn´t feel like I was in peak shape. I made sure that I came into this season being in peak shape.
Your playing now your fifth season with CSKA Moscow after playing two seasons in Greece, one in Germany and two in Italy. Some call Quantez Robertson a Skyliner lifer. Do you feel like your going in the direction of a CSKA Moscow lifer?
I hope so. I love the city, organization and fans. I have spent half my career in Moscow. It feels crazy. I hope that I will be here as long as possible and finish my career here.
After playing in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls in 2007-2008 Russian Viktor Khryapa has been with CSKA Moscow since then and in his 10th season and age 35. Does his longevity motivate you in how you will continue to present your game and preparation as you develop further into your thirties?
Yes I do. I have the chance to watch him every day in practice and see how he prepares his body and keeps his conditioning up. I take lessons from him and try to figure out the best way that I can continue to play well in my thirties. He definitely has been a big role model for me in terms of conditioning.
Head coach Dimitris Itoudis has been on board since 2014. Does anything ever change in the team goals besides wanting to win the Euroleague, VTB and cup each seasons? Are there any other teams goals besides that?
I think that when you play for a winning organization like CSKA Moscow that those are the goals. Coach came from a huge winning tradition at Panathinaikos and that is all he knew to do to win titles. He brought his winning tradition to Moscow and it has rubbed off on us. Our goal is to win titles and not be second or third. If we don´t win titles then it wasn´t a successful season. Only winning titles is good.
The club has started off well again leading the VTB and being near the top of the Euroleague standings. How content are you with the start?
I think with all that has happened in the last months I am content. We were missing many faces due to the Euro championships with Sergio Rodriguez, Nando De Colo and many Russian players. We only had a full week of practice with everyone before the season started. I think we have done a good job with the rigorous schedule. We did have some tough loses in Euroleague to Real Madrid and Fenerbahce. We have shown the potential that we have and I believe that our best basketball is still front of us. We are still working on our chemistry and I feel that there are still big things that lie ahead.
The club added many new faces and seem like always very deep at every position. How strong and talented would you rate this years roster in comparison to other years?
I think that we have the most talent since I have been here. We are so diverse this season in that we have a group of guys that can play multiple positions. We have a lot of experience and management did a good job mixing that with many diverse players.
How would you describe the CSKA Moscow style this season? You have added many dynamic new players and it seems like they have been the right fit?
Sergio Rodriguez plays the traditional Spanish fast style. A big focal point in our offense this season is too play more transition and get easy buckets that way. On defense we are switching more and being able to be more versatile and play with many different lineups and match up against teams better.
Anytime you lose Milos Teodosic it hurts, but you have filled his gap well with ex NBA player and Spanish legend in the making Sergio Rodriguez. What dimension does he give the team that it didn´t have before?
It always hurts when you lose a player of the caliber of a Teodosic as he could create out of nowhere. But getting a great player like Rodriguez to take over his spot was important. He adds important experience and composure. He isn´t afraid to take big shots and he is so smart on the court. He brings so much important club and international experience and he has brought a new kind of spirit and energy off the court that many enjoy and didn´t have before.
Will Clyburn has made to top team CSKA Moscow via Germany, Israel and Turkey where he played already Euroleague last season. Do you see a little of yourself in him mainly with how he gradually climbed the basketball ladder to get to the top?
A lot has to do with his work ethic. I see how much extra time he puts into his game each day to get better. I understand how he has been able to climb the basketball ladder so fast. He deserves to be here. Our paths are similar in that I did the same working hard in Italy and Bamberg to reach the next level.
What kind of relationship do you have with Will Clyburn. Has he found a mentor in you? If so is there any advice you have given him that hasn´t been the usual thing a veteran would say?
We have a really good relationship. He lives in the same apartment complex as me. We talk about many things about basketball as well as family things off the court. I just try to be there as a person who has experienced a lot and try to make the transition easier for him.
I see French man Leo Westermann as one of the most interesting new signings. He is only 25 years old, but playing his sixth season of Euroleague with many different teams and has been confronted with many different styles. He still has much development upside in his game. Could he be that added guard punch that the club was missing in the last years from the bench?
I think so. He is hurt now, but I feel when he does return that he will add a totally new dimension to the team. He also has a lot of experience having played with many big teams. He is one of the younger guys, but at age 25 wise above his years. He is the opposite of Rodriguez in that he is a tall guard that can post up and will slow down the game. When Rodriguez goes out and he comes in there will be new opportunities and no downfalls. He will help us in multiple ways.
How refreshing has it been having veteran Othello Hunter by your side who is 31 years old like you. How would you describe his game and how have you profited from his game and vice versa?
It has been great. We have known each other for a very long time. We were on the same NBA Summer League team in 2008 with Charlotte. I have kept tabs on him over the years and it´s great that were teammates now. His presence and competitive nature with mine makes each other better. We always try to outdo each other. We are both dynamic mobile big men that are similar in style. When I look in the mirror I see him. We are like a tag team as we split time on the floor.
Let´s talk about your game. You stated in our last interview that you haven´t reached your prime yet. Where in your game do you feel is still developing even now in your early thirties?
It has to do with mindset. I will always think that I can get better. When I feel content with my game will be the time I need to stop playing. I may feel in my prime physically when I am 35 or 36, but mentally I won´t. For me now at my age it´s all mental and how I can continue to get better to help my team get better.
Your playing very good basketball and your stats are near the best that you have had with CSKA Moscow. Have you added anything different to how you mentally and physically prepare for every new game in terms of how your working on your game and body during the week?
It all about habits and being consistent and doing the same thing each day. When you get older it´s all about being consistent and doing your daily habits and hoping the habits remain consistent
How much of a challenge is it playing on a team that is so deep and always having to be effective knowing every little touch and play determines how much minutes you will get. Does this challenge motivate you more each season as you get a year older?
I have played for big teams and it´s not so much about individual aspects, but more the collective. There can be a different top player in each game. It´s about how much time you are on the court and how you can contribute the most. You just try to do your best in helping your team win. My major concern isn´t about harping on not taking shots and worrying about being taken out, but maximizing my opportunities on the court best. Key is knowing your role and doing the best on the court.
The Euroleague seasons has had some surprises as Milan is near the top and Fenerbahce has been struggling. The two Greek powerhouses are playing well as Bamberg. Has the Euroleague season so far been a surprise to you?
I don´t thin k so. The season is still young and only 1/3 over. Some teams have had injuries, others have chemistry while others don´t. It is a very long season and isn´t a sprint, but a marathon. You have to play your best basketball in April and May. Key now is winning games and staying consistent.
Your back in Bamberg for the Christmas time. What memories do you have of that time when you were playing with the club?
Seeing the Christmas time in Germany has been one of my best experiences in Europe. I remember going to the Christmas market in Nurnberg and experiencing the lights and atmosphere. It was just remarkable.
Bamberg have been struggling in the BBL and slowly finding their way and playing very spirited basketball in the Euroleague. With so many new faces, how much of the credit goes to head coach Andrea Trinchieri in the early going?
They have many new faces and many new go to guys. My friend Ricky Hickman is starting to play a lot better after having an early season injury. They still have to find their chemistry. They also have some young guys that have had to take over new permanent roles. Anytime you lose some guys to the NBA, it will be tough. You have to credit the coaching staff for the success in the Euroleague. It is still very early and it is hard to judge the team from the first two months. If you see how they have done losing so many good players, they have done a tremendous job.
Bamberg departed with Quincy Miller-Scott and have added long time NBA veteran Dorrell Wright. Do you feel like he will be able to be that needed piece that the club was missing despite no real European experience?
He has championship experience. He had an immediate impact and will continue to lift them.
Every game in the Euroleague is vital. What kind of game can we await and what will be key to winning?
It is always tough playing in Bamberg. The games are always tight and last season there was a buzzer beater. We know what to expect with the atmosphere there. They are always strong at home and play physical. We need to match their physicality and get the 50/50 balls and hustle plays. It will be the little things that make the difference.
This is your eighth season of coming back to Bamberg to play Euroleague. You played two seasons in Italy and Greece with one team and Bamberg was the only team where you played one season. What does Bamberg have that none of the other places had that will forever stay in your heart?
Bamberg is a unique city. It reminds me of Veroli and Pireus as every city lives through their basketball. The Bamberg fans are so passionate. The environment isn´t hostle, but fanatic They know basketball and care about it.
In the last interview we talked about your project My Hoop Journey, but you also have a documentary coming out. Give an update on these two projects?
My Hoop Joruney let´s players tell their stories playing abroad. We have curtailed it a bit into the documentary showcasing my life in Moscow. It gives people at home the chance to see how the life is of a player and fans how foreigners live.
How surprising has the rampant success of the Boston Celtics been and the slow start of the Cavs. Is head coach Brad Stevens making new waves in terms of his coaching ability?
I think that Stevens is underrated in the NBA. Boston has a successful program and team. They had a plan and executed it well. They have a great system that has been able to let the players compete and be successful. There weren´t much expectations recently, but in the last few years they have been very competitive.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
Donovan Mitchell of Utah has really exploded. Jayson Tatum has been a difference maker for Boston. Dennis Smith Jr has been the most exciting. Ben Simmons is a once in a generation player
Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?
The Rockets are cruising now. Harden is looking like the MVP now. Paul is a great player. The fact that these two are playing well together has erased any question marks. They will be competitive this season.
How do you rate the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade? Who got the better deal and which team will profit better in the long run?
It is hard to say. Both teams are in a good position. I think it worked out well for both teams. You won´t know until 3-4 years from now who got the better deal.
Where will the journey of the Oklahoma Thunder go this season with Westbrook, George and Anthony? Can they make a serious run in the west?
They have three superstars. That is a formula for winning a title. It´s all about figuring out how to play well together. They will find the chemistry that James, Wade and Bosh were looking for early in Miami. I think they could match Golden State. They are more vulnerable now then they ever have the last years.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Kyle for the chat.