Kyle Hines is a 32 year old 198cm power forward from Sicklerville, New Jersey that is playing his sixth season with CSKA Moscow and currently is averaging 8,8ppg, 4,5rpg, 1,0apg and 1,3spg in the Euroleague and in the VTB is averaging 6,8ppg, 4,0rpg and 1,0apg. 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 pre draft workouts with Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA). 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) playing 40 games averaging 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) playing 10 Euroleague games averaging 12.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 64.3%, FT: 46.7%; and in the German League played 46 games averaging 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. germanhoops.com did it´s 15th interview with the 6 time Euroleague Final 4 player and three time Euroleague winner before the Euroleague game in Munich.
Kyle thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how are you enjoying basketball life at the moment?
I´m at home in Moscow. This year has been so much fun. This has been one of the funnest season´s I have had in my career. The team we have this season is special. One of the reasons why we have been so successful is because we like to play with each other.
Before we get to your season, I have to ask you about your ex teammate Brian Roberts. After being away for more than 6 and a half years, he returns to Germany to play a Eurocup game in Frankfurt. What are you sweetest memories of him as a player and how important was his time in Bamberg for reaching the NBA?
Brian and I had a great friendship when we were in Bamberg. He was one of the closest I was with that year. Our families hung out a lot that season. He won a lot of games for us. When it was crucial times in a game he carried the team on his back. He proved to be a solid contributor for every team he played with in the NBA. Last season with Olympiakos he continued to show that he can carry a team on his back. I always cheer for him and check his stats. He is a great player and person.
Kyle this is our 15th interview since you played with Bamberg seven years ago. What is something that is present in my interviews that always tells you right away it´s me that is interviewing you?
Your style and how you ask the questions. Even if your focal point is in Germany, you have a high knowledge of basketball in Europe which is rare. Most journalists only know about the country they are in, but you have a high IQ about basketball in Europe.
You have played so many games in your career, but believe it or not never an official game against fc Bayern Munich. How excited are you for this experience?
I was in Germany when they started their project in 2010. They started in the second division and did a good job moving their way up. Their goal back then was to reach the Euroleague. Seeing them there now is a huge accomplishment for the organization. I am very excited to be back in Germany and to play in Munich. I love coming back to Germany remembering the success I had with Bamberg. I still have many friends there. I´m happy to be able to play such a famous club like FC Bayern Munich.
Do you still get goose bumps and is it something very special playing against a new team for the first time?
It´s never just another game in the Euroleague. I still get a little nervous in games. The Euroleague is different from other leagues in that every second matters. One bad play can make the difference. It´s not a bad nervous, but a good nervous. When I´m nervous, I know I´m ready to play.
How have you followed the development of FC Bayern Munich from a neutral stand point? What has impressed you the most about this organization.
Their level of growth has impressed me the most. They set the goal to reach the Euroleague in 8-9 years and to have been able to do it at such a fast pace is something where I hold the club in high regard. I have known many guys that have played for them and they have only said good things about the organization. That says a lot for the organization.
CSKA Moscow are 6-0 in the Euroleague and FC Bayern Munich is 3-3 and coming off a huge blow out win against Turkish side Darussafaka What kind of game can we await and what will be key to getting the win?
They play very well at home. I think that they have won every game at home. We know that the crowd will be very excited and it will be a good atmosphere. They play very physical and aggressive at both ends of the court and have good players with Booker and Williams. The biggest key will be to match their physicality and aggressiveness while being able to play our game.
Your playing your sixth season for CSKA Moscow. You never want to say never, but how sure are you now that you will finish your career with this team?
I´m not sure. The turn over rate in the Euroleague is very high. I hope that I can stay here for a very long time. I don´t worry about the future, but only about the present. If I can handle the present well, then the future will take care of itself. I can only control the present and my goal is help my team win as many games as possible.
What are personally the biggest benefits to be able to play for CSKA Moscow for a sixth year?
I have been so blessed to have been able to be in this situation for so long that I can call home. There aren´t many foreign players that can say they played at a high level for the same team for a long time. I´m so happy here. CSKA is like family for me. It is such a nice family atmosphere which is the best part of it.
Before we talk about your current game let´s talk about CSKA Moscow. The club is undefeated in the Euroleague and VTB. Is this one of your best starts since you arrived in 2013?
I think so. We have had some tough games and the manner how we have played this season is something we can be very proud of. We have been down and games haven´t been that pretty, but we always found a way to win the games. This has been the theme of our season so far. That shows great confidence within the team. The season is a marathon and we still have room to improve. We have to continue to play and continue to get better.
It surely helped that the club held on to 9 players. What is the secret to CSKA Moscow being able to keep it´s rosters so well in tact year in and year out? I don´t believe there is another team like CSKA Moscow that has done such a good job keeping it´s personal the way you have?
The management, coaching staff and president contribute to the atmosphere here. In order to keep core guys, they have to be willing to want to stay and they have. Management also has done a great job making all families feel comfortable here. Also management has trusted guys to keep staying here and continuing to be able to perform well at a high rate.
Obviously winning the VTB now is a must, because if you don´t then it´s a lost season. You have dominated the VTB the last years and won it each time since you have been here. What is the secret to the club never letting up in this league and always being successful?
The whole team takes great pride in wanting to win the VTB league each season. Every guy takes a lot of pride of wanting to be a champion. In the crucial point of the season, nobody wants to give up that title. We continue to be hungry and continue to hold the VTB title in high esteem. We play every game as if it´s a final game. We try not to take any days off. A title is a title no matter in what league it is. We want to win as many as possible.
The big goal each season is to win the Euroleague. CSKA Moscow haven´t done it since 2016. There are three guys with ex NBA players Othello Hunter, Sergio Rodriguez and Will Clyburn that haven´t won it with CSKA Moscow. Do you sense that their winning desire and play has increased this season?
Definitely. The whole team has a sense of urgency to win. We are a older group and your perspective changes as you get older, because you don´t know how many more chances you will have to win a title. We know that we have talent and know we have a good chance to win it this year. We won´t let it pass us by.
You said this a year ago around this time. “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”. You didn´t add to many new pieces this season. Is this club stronger than it was last season with a season of added experience and can it win the double again like it did in 2016?
Only time will tell. The management did a good job adding high magnitude players. Key was adding experienced Daniel Hacket who has played in many big games. Also key was adding three rookies. The two ex NBA players Peters and Bolomboy add a new dimension we didn´t have the last years. Peters has a high IQ and is a good shooter while Bolomboy is very athletic. The third Ivan Ukhov just plays very hard. Overall we have a strong group of guys that can all contribute. Everybody from 1-15 in the roster can be top scorer in any game. That shows the potential that we have this season.
Talk a little how key American Alec Peters has been? What is his role exactly on the team and what have you grown to appreciate the most about his game?
He is a great shooter and has a very high basketball IQ and maturation level. When you see him on the court, you would never think that it´s his first season overseas. He has the mind of a veteran. That is a reason why he has played so well.
The team also added Daniel Hacket who played with your ex team Brose Bamberg last season. What special element does he bring to the team that it didn´t have before?
His experience is huge. He has played at high levels, top teams and in big games. He understands the game so well that nothing flusters him in tough situations. He is a stable guard and that will help us down the stretch.
Last season he witnessed how your ex coach Andrea Trinchieri and the Bamberg era ended. How did you experience that last season from afar and did Hacket tell any stories as to why last season´s team and coach didn´t mesh?
We haven´t talked about his time in Bamberg. We only talk about the present. It was tough to see the Trinchieri era end. I always wish him the best. He is one of the best coaches that I ever played for. No matter where he goes, he will be successful. Bamberg is a first rate organization and will be successful no matter what league they play in.
Rodriguez, De Colo and Hunter are over 30 and Corey Higgins is turning 30 this season. Not to forget that Daniel Hacket Nikita Kurbanov and you are also 30 or above. Does the success this season prove that a lot of guys are aging like fine wine in terms of their basketball skills?
I hope so. We have an older team. Management did a great job balancing it with young players. I hope we all continue to age well like fine wine.
Let´s talk about your game. In our last interview last season you stated this. “When I feel content with my game will be the time that I need to Stop playing”. Is that urge to want to get better still with you now at age 32?
I definitely still have a big hunger and determination to win titles. That is what keeps me going at my age. I want to continue to keep getting better. When I have the feeling that my determination stops, then I know it will be time to stop. But for now my hunger is as big as ever.
Your minutes in both the Euroleague and VTB are a bit down form the last years, but your putting up consistent stats. How content have you been with your play so far this season?
I always feel like I need to improve. I am never content with my game. As long as the team is winning is what counts most. My number one goal remains to continue to help my team win.
Sometimes you start and sometimes you come from the bench. Are you more comfortable starting or giving energy from the bench?
It doesn´t matter. In my career I have done both. It is all the same for me.
Does it at times feel like if your playing Lotto? The coach keeping it interesting from game to game with who will start?
I think it all has to do with the coaching strategy. Whoever is best for the match up is who plays. It doesn´t matter who starts and who doesn´t, because we are all ready no matter what.
Last season at this time you stated “ 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”. How do you feel about your game now?
I still feel the same. It is a combination of the mental and physical side. I feel like I´m at a great level now and playing great. I am healthy and am looking forward to what the future holds.
I have spoke to many older players recently and each player stated that they have to do more now than ever. You said last season that for you it´s all about staying consistent with your habits. Do see yourself doing more and adding things to your habits to remain consistent and successful?
I have added some things to my repertoire to make me better. It continues to be a combination consistent and having good habits to determine your longevity.
Getting minutes and being as effective as possible is what it is all about when you play for a powerhouse Euroleague team. You stated this last season. “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. How important is quick thinking on the court and when is it toughest to do so?
I think that you get to a certain point in your career where it´s not about quick thinking and reaction, but it´s all about experience and seeing things before they happen.
Your interesting documentary series “A kid from Sicklerville” continues to be produced. Talk a little about how the response has been and what the future will bring?
The response has been great. We accomplished our goal of showing how a foreign player lives overseas from a different perspective. In the future we will have some new projects that will allow other players to tell their stories. In hopes of helping educate young players about life overseas for a professional basketball player.
You battled against Luka Doncic the last years on many occasions and he currently setting the NBA on fire. Just from what you remember in his game and how quick he started in the NBA at age 19, do you see him becoming one of the all-time best Europeans ever in the NBA?
I think it´s up to him. He has been very successful in his career up to now. He has worked very hard to get to the NBA. I played against him and know his game so his success in the NBA hasn´t surprised me. He is one of the hardest working guys. He has a high level of maturity. He will have a chance to do good things.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Kyle for the chat.