Kyle Hines(CSKA Moscow) Is A Firm Believer That He Can Improve At His Age

Kyle Hines is a 33 year old 198cm power forward from Sicklerville, New Jersey that is playing his seventh season with CSKA Moscow and last season won the Euroleague And VTB titles. He currently is averaging 8,9ppg, 4,1rpg and 1,2apg in the Euroleague and 5,7ppg, 4,0rpg and 1,8apg in the VTB league. He played at NC-Greensboro (NCAA) from 2004-2008. In his senior year, he played 31 games averaging 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. conducted it’s 18th interview with him before a Euroleague game against FC Bayern Munich

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and 4 time Euroleague winner Kyle Hines before a Euroleague game in Munich

Kyle thanks for talking to You are playing your seventh season for CSKA Moscow. What have you learned to appreciate the most about how Christmas is celebrated in Russia?

I appreciate how Moscow goes over the top with it´s decorations and lights. Everywhere you go there are Christmas trees and skating rinks.

When you have won 4 Euroleagues the most by any American ever could you have a secret and rather want a 5th Euroleague win then the newest gadget or other present you may be craving.

Yes of course. For me the biggest thing is always winning. I am always looking forward to trying to win that next title. It would be great to win another Euroleague title. 

This season things aren’t running as smoothly for CSKA Moscow at this point of the season than other seasons. The VTB hasn’t been a cake walk and in Euroleague play the team has lost 5 games. Did the departures and slower integration of the new players take a toll on the team?

We have a brand new roster. Literally all on the team are brand new except for a few guys. The injury to Will Clyburn wasn’t planned. We had a lot of road games early and it was tough and a reason why our record is what it is. I feel like we were in all games and had an opportunity to win each game. We feel that as a unit we are right there. We hope to use the experience from the first round and use that to get more wins now in the second round of the season.

Did you have a feeling when the season started that losing top players Sergio Rodriguez, Nando de Colo, Corey Higgins and Othello Hunter could affect the team as much as it had?

Anytime you lose so many guys that have big roles on the team, it definitely isn’t easy to take. It has been a transition period. It is what it is. The new guys have new roles, a new style and a new system. I think that we have done fairly well, but of course I would have liked us to have been better. I don’t think that there would be many teams in Euroleague that had our situation that would be one of the top 4 or 5 teams. I think that we have taken adversary as a positive thing to get closer as a team. Our situation has forced guys to step up a lot earlier than expected.

Despite many good additions do you feel like opponents got a little more confidence playing you this season on account of so many great players leaving?

No. I think that we are just a bigger target on our back. Everybody wants to beat us badly every game. That is a part of being the defending champion.

You had a strong start to the Euroleague season winning the first 5 of 6 games, but then had a tough stretch in November losing 3 of four games. Did the 67-66 loss stay in the minds a bit longer?

No it didn’t. The Euroleague is a long grind, a marathon. You can see the results from this season that there have been a lot of surprises and teams being up and down. We don’t linger on one loss, but are always trying to get better.

What did the club get away from their game in this stretch and how is it playing better basketball now as it has won 5 of it’s last 6 games?

We had growing pains. We are still coming together and finding our roles. We are still trying to figure each other out and getting to know each other better as a unit. I feel in the last games we have gotten more comfortable in their roles and system. Guys are thinking less and things are coming more by nature.

In the Euroleague you’re the best rebounding team, 4th best defensive team and 7th best offensive team. What does the team have to continue to work on to be able to successfully defend their Euroleague title?

Defense is a huge part. We have to continue to play at a high level each night. There is so much offensive talent in the Euroleague that you have to defend well. Rebounding is also big, because it gives us extra possessions and let’s us control the tempo. We have to continue to make clutch shots down the stretch and finish games well. 

You won the first contest in Moscow against FC Bayern Munich. When you look at their roster does it surprise you that they are struggling so much?

I think that that is how the Euroleague is. It is very balanced and not too much separates each team. Every team is somewhere between 2-3 games of each other. Munich is a great team. They are able to score in many areas. They usually play well together at home. Despite their record, they have a lot of potential to do a lot of things.

In the first game ex NBA player Greg Monroe had 17 points and 10 boards. How much of a challenge was it playing against him and what is the toughest thing when defending him in the post?

He is obviously very talented. He came to Europe with a lot of NBA experience. He has an array of many different post moves and has the ability to finish in many ways. The biggest challenge for me is just trying to limit his touches and not allow him to feel too comfortable. 

Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure has it been playing with Mike James. What does he bring to the team that the club didn’t have the last years at the point guard position?

Mike is an extremely talented player. He has the capability of making most tough shots look easy. He can carry a team with his scoring or creating. He is a dynamic scorer that can score in bunches or go on runs by himself. 

He is having a strong VTB campaign, but is playing even better in the Euroleague. Is he the best point guard in Europe now?

He is my teammate so I root for him. I see him as the best point guard in Europe. He has played very well and proved that he can play at a high level anywhere. 

Another player that has been integrated well has been ex NBA player Darrun Hilliard. He is known as being able to be an explosive scorer and hit the three, but what other quality in his game do you really appreciate that is vital for the club having success?

He is a great shooter and offensive player. His maturity and improvement have been big. He has done a great job trying to get better into our system. His willingness and work ethic to want to improve has impressed me the most.

German Johannes Voigtmann is playing his fourth Euroleague season and first with CSKA Moscow. He is a modern versatile big man. How has the style of CSKA Moscow helped his game most this season?

Our system fits him well. He plays the pick and pop 4 or stretch 5. He has been featured a lot in our system and has stepped up in big games. His ability to spread the floor has been big and his creating has brought a different component to our game. 

He is shooting the ball very well from outside at 65% in the VTB league. Do you feel like his outside shooting has taken another step being around so many good shooters?

I think so. He has shown that he can take and make the big shots. He has taken big strides to improve as a player. 

What kind of relationship do you have with Voigtmann? Is he a guy that will come to you and ask for tips on possibly how to be more physical in certain situations?

We have a great relationship. We talk a lot. He is a great player and person. We talk a lot about the game. That is a big benefit of our team is having each other and always helping each other out.

How proud are you of having been a member of Brose Bamberg when you witness guys like Daniel Hackett and Janis Strelnieks make strides. Both have made big strides as players. Talk a little how they have developed further?

Bamberg does a great job developing players further. Bamberg is a great place to go to when you want to make the next step in your career. Both players are intrical parts of our team. Janis has been that secondary creator and scorer. Daniel’s physicality, aggressiveness and leadership has been huge. He played his best basketball last season and was a big reason why we won the Euroleague. He is a big part of our team this season. 

Let’s talk about your game? In our last interview you stated this ‘the most important thing for me is always to win. I don’t care how we get there and I never look at individual stats. For me it is always about the team. This was one of the best season’s I had. Having the experience to win the Euroleague again was great. Your averaging 8/4 in the Euroleague and 5/3 in the VTB and shooting 59% or better from the field. How do you summarize your play up until now this season?

I’m always critical about my game. My job is to help the team win games. Whatever it takes to help my team win on any night is what I will do. My personal stats aren’t my #1 goal. My number one goal is to help my team win or put it in the best position to win. 

In our last interview you stated ‘I feel that as a player you can always get better. In the off season, I look at every aspect of my game and try to figure out how to make my weakness a strength. As a player you can always improve whether your 21 or 31’. Do you feel like the area’s that you focused on last summer in the lab have benefited your game this season?

I think so. I’m trying to become a better overall player. It is more the smaller area’s where I want to improve. I want to become more fit. I am a firm believer that I can still improve at my age.

It is no secret that when players get older, their game regressions. That hasn’t been the case for you. What do you feel is the most important thing that you have to continue to do each day so your game doesn’t regress?

Important for me is to maintain my daily habits and follow what I have done my whole career that has helped me be successful. I always want to keep my body in great shape so I can play as long as possible.

How difficult is it in general as you get older knowing if your doing to little for your body or too much? Do you have your own additional program to stay fit at age 33 or does the normal conditioning that the club does enough?

I have played a long time, so I know my body well. I know what works and what doesn’t. I think it is important doing the little things that will benefit your body for the rigors of both leagues. 

You stated in our last interview that you would be working on touch and drives over the summer. Do you feel like that work has paid off for you this season?

Yes I think so. I worked on finishing better at the rim in different ways.

A couple of years ago you produced the documentary series ‘Just a kid from Sicklerville’ and last season you had the podcast the Kyle Zone. On what projects are you working on at the moment off the court?

Continuing working on the second part of the documentary series of first time players in the Euroleague. We are also continuing on working and expanding on the podcast. We also area adding an additional documentary on how player spend their off season. 

You played for Brose Bamberg in 2010-2011. Do you still keep in contact with some of your teammates?

It isn’t easy with the rigors of the season. I recently saw Predrag Suput at our game in Moscow. I play against Tibor Pleiss in the Euroleague and I try to communicate with guys over social media. 

We have discussed a lot of your ex Bamberg teammates, but one guy that I believe we never have spoken about is Predrag Suput. What memories do you have of him and how important was he for the success that season?

He was one of our go to guys. He always was able to make the tough shots. I learned so much from him. He helped me become a better post player as well as a more intelligent player. He was fast or athletic, but he had a very high IQ. I picked up the small tricks of the trade from him 

What was the last movie that you saw?

The Lion King.

Thanks Kyle for the chat.

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