The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature With Louis Hinnant

Louis Hinnant in action in Germany

Even when I´m on a short vacation visiting mom and brother in Boston in mid January 2020, I can never get enough of basketball. After meeting the legendary Ann Meyers Drysdale, one of only two women to ever be signed by an NBA team back in 1980 with the Indiana Pacers who has been a team broadcaster since 2012 and getting a nice selfie with Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric and watching the self absorbed superstars Ricky Rubio, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton ignore the autograph hounds and me, I walked towards the train on my way home somewhat pleased about getting 5 Suns players autographs as the snow was rapidly getting stronger. On my way home, I was already focused on Sunday as I was going to have an early morning meeting with Louis HInnant at his old school Boston College to gather precious information on his career for my article. That night I watched the Boston Celtics suffer their sixth loss in the last 8 games and Devin Booker destroy my team, but was fascinated by Marcus Smart´s career night breaking the Celtics all-time three point record for a game with 11 which was previously held by Isaiah Thomas and Antoine Walker with 9 a piece. As I woke up on Sunday morning at 7:00AM, I checked my phone and saw a message from Hinnant. My town Needham had gotten about 4 inches and I remember hearing the snow plower do our driveway at 2.Am, so I was free to go to see the ex player, but Hinnant hadn´t faired better. The snow had been heavier up in Lowell where he calls home now and wouldn´t be able to make the meeting. His neighborhood hadn´t been plowed and a 150$ Uber was a bit too steep, plus he had a mid day practice. But thanks to technology and the phone. I reached Hinnant at 10:00AM in his office at the University of Lowell and despite not seeing him in person, this had to do. Before we got to his career, we did some small talk about the snow  “I like the snow. There is less in Maryland, but I got used to it at Boston College. When you live here you have to be prepared for it. In Boston they clean the streets a lot faster than out here. I woke up at 4AM and didn´t see any of the plows out. My wife is from Maryland and the snow has been a big adjustment”, stressed Louis Hinnant. The American had a stellar basketball career at Boston College and overseas and currently is an assistant coach with the University Of Lowell. Hinnant is featured in the Miles where are they now category.

Louis Hinnant behind the bench with Umass-Lowell

                Hinnant was born on May 5th, 1984 in Oxon Hill and grew up in Gwynn Park. He had a stellar career at Boston College from 2002-2006 playing a total of 126 NCAA games. As a freshman he played 31games averaging 4.7ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.2apg. He had the pleasure from learning from Troy Bell who was drafted by the Boston Celtics and played briefly with the Memphis Grizzlies before having a very long career overseas.  “He was one of the best guards in the country. He did a good job helping me with how to play the position and giving pointers about how to take care of your body. I remember going to the cold tub with him even though I didn´t want to”, stressed Louis Hinnant. He developed nicely as a player at Boston College and as a senior averaged  7.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.6apg, FG: 48.4%, 3PT: 43%, FT: 69.1%. He never averaged double figures in scoring in a season, but that never bothered him, because he had so much scoring magic around him. “For me the most important thing was always to win. I always tried to see what I could do to help my team win. When I scored, we usually lost. I had great teammates who could score. I always felt that as a point guard that I could score, but I always wanted to enhance my teammates and focus on getting them the ball”, stressed Louis Hinnant. When he was a senior, he very well remembered the relationship that he had as a freshman with Troy Bell and now his role was reversed as the mentor with a young kid named Tyrese Rice and the immense talent that he possessed “I taught him to play the point guard position and he quickly learned. I thought then and still do now that he is one of the best 400 players in the world. I am super proud of what he has accomplished in his career. We train together in the summers and are close”, stated Louis Hinnant.

The American also remembered how different the NCAA is today than it was when he was playing at Boston College. “Back then you had a Florida with a Al Horford or a North Carolina with JJ Reddick and Shelden Williams and today everyone is coming out early and teams just have less experience”, stressed louis Hinnant. He also remembered his three NCAA runs with the first and last being the most sweetest. “Many things hadn´t gone right for us my freshman year. In my second year Bell had left and we had lost Ryan Sydney as well. Nobody believed in us, but we rallied and reached the tournament. In my senior year, we had the talent to win it all, but lost to Villanova. We had the opportunity to win that game. I actually never watched that game again until I became a coach. I see things a lot different now as a coach then I did back then. When I look back at that game now, we should have done things a lot differently, but the basketball God didn´t see it our way”, added Louis Hinnant. The American who lists Randy Foye as his toughest opponent at his position in the NCAA also remembered his head coach Al Skinner who helped groom and prepare him for a professional basketball career. “He had that professional approach and wasn´t as demanding and didn´t babysit you. He knew that if you wanted to be good, you would commit to the work. He went with those that were self motivating and understood their weakness and worked on them”, said Louis Hinnant. Before he turned professional, the American had a work out with the Boston Celtics and battled a young Rajon Rondo who came out after two years at Kentucky(NCAA). “I thought then that I had a legit chance of making the NBA. Not being drafted, but maybe making it through the NBA Summer League. I just wanted to show that I could help my team win. I did some good things in that workout. I knew that they were more interested in evaluating Rondo, but in hindsight the work out got me workouts with a few other teams. I appreciate the Boston Celtics front office, because they helped me get a lucrative deal in Europe. I knew about Rondo´s measurability. He had something like 1% or 2% body fat. I remember the trainer saying we have to put his body fat up. I had never heard of something like that. You knew right away htat he was something different. His measurability was way off the charts”, remembered Louis Hinnant.

The American began his professional basketball career in 2006 with the Sundsvall Dragons (Sweden-Basketligan) playing 22 games averaging 16.0ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.9apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 74.1%. He remembers his rookie season as if it was yesterday. “I remember the cold the most and snowing being a daily thing. It also got dark quickly. It was definitely different. Being away from home wasn´t hard, because being at Boston College had prepared me for that”, added Louis Hinnant. After a strong rookie season, he followed it up in Finland with Joensuun Kataja (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 41 games averaging 18.0ppg, 5.3rpg, Assists-2(4.4apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 35.1%, FT: 87.5%. He had no problems adjusting to the European game as his stats showed He also learned important lessons about the business side from teammate Clifton Jones how basketball life can be if you don´t read the contract between the lines, but at that early juncture, all Hinnant cared about was playing no matter what. “Jones had a different approach to the game then I did in terms of being a professional. I was ready to play every day no matter what. If his money was late one day, he wouldn´t play. I didn´t care about that and just wanted to play. I was young and not as professional yet. I remember him always telling me to read my contract”, added Louis Hinnant. His most memorable time in his professional career came from 2008-2010 when he played with Zalakeramia-ZTE KK (Hungary-A Division) where he won 2 titles. In his first season he played 34 games averaging 15.6ppg, 3.2rpg, 4.4apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 61.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 82.6% and in his sophomore campaign with the club played 34 games averaging 13.6ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-3(6.0apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 67.0%, 3PT: 37.4%, FT: 79.0%. “The team hadn´t reached the playoffs in 7 years The most satisfying thing was that we won and being part of something where all thought would be impossible. I remember the fans being ecstatic. It was great coming back and winning the title”, stressed Louis Hinnant. Hinnant couldn´t have won 2 titles in Hungry without the scoring expertise from teammate Calvin Watson, but also remembers that his presence and feeding him the ball was vital as well. “Watson was great. We needed him. I knew right away that I had to bring the best out of my teammates. He wanted to be the top scorer and I was ok with that. We never butted heads and had no competition among us. Us feeding off each other allowed him to win the MVP and I got player of the year, I didn´t have to score to be successful. I enjoyed playing with him”, added Louis Hinnant.

In the 2010-2011 season he played with Kryvbasbasket-Lux Kryvyi Rih (Ukraine-Superleague) playing 13 games averaging 10.2ppg, 2.4rpg, 3.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 71.7%. He was the lone American on the team. “The Ukraine was different. We had a lot of Serbians and Croatians on the team. They all understood each other as their languages were similar. I had a good relationship with my teammates, but I did spend a lot of time alone. This season was good for my game as I was around high level bigs something I didn´t have in Hungry. I´m a guy that likes to throw the ball up to the rim. I was able to do that in this league. I also remember seeing a lot of guys that had played in the NBA”, added Louis Hinnant. His toughest season was in 2011-2012 where he bounched around 3 teams with: Anwil Wloclawek (Poland-PLK); playing 3 games, then moved to Khimik-OPZ Yuzny (Ukraine-Superleague) playing a game and then finished strong with the Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-ProA) playing 21 games averaging 9.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.1apg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 84.6%. “This was the first time that the business side got involved. My team in the Ukraine was bankrupt. After 3 months where I didn´t get my money, I knew something was wrong. The people in town were talking about it. The club kept saying that all would be fine. They then said that they had no money, but that I would get it. I left for Poland and rebroke my foot. In the higher leagues, you often have to play hurt. After being hurt, you always have to prove yourself all over again”, stated Louis Hinnant. In Poland he worked briefly with well known coach Emir Mutapic who won many titles with Alba Berlin. “I thought that he was a good teacher. He got let go seeing the business side. The team had injuries and he needed some time to implement how he would teach the game. He didn´t get the time. He fell victim to politics something we all do at one time or another”, warned Louis Hinnant.

The American finished strong in Germany with the Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-ProA) playing 21 games averaging 9.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.1apg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 84.6%. He lived in a beautiful town called Weissenfels that has 33,0000 plus inhabitants and never had a problem getting that much needed energy for his stellar play on the court. “My apartment bulding was at the end of the road and it was easy to hop in the car and swing over to the Mcdonalds. I also lived near the Doner place. After a while whenever I went there, they knew exactly what I wanted. I loved Doner”, laughed Louis Hinnant. On the basket side, he who lists his friend guard Ahmad Smith as his toughest foe in the Pro A had very fond memories of the German club with a talented coach in Silvano Poropat and teammate Whit-Holcomb-Faye. “This was the first time where I was on a team that had 4-5 Americans. Before it had been 2. We had a very deep team and we had a good mixture of Americans and other imports. We had good friendships and still talk to guys today. Poropat was a very good coach, but demanding. I learned a lot from him. Holcomb-Faye was super competitive like I was. The only difference was that he talked a lot of trash while I didn´t. We both only cared about winning. We both made our team better. We had no down days in practice. We would go back and forth in practice. Sometimes it would get chippy, but at the end of the day, we were all laughing. During the game we were always thinking and talking and trying to figure out ways which was the easiest to win”, warned Louis Hinnant. In 2012 he retired, mainly because he had been away from home for so long and was somewhat burned out. “I needed a break. I started to think about other things at this point in my career. I had a younger brother that I had never seen play before. This kind of thing got to me. I hadn´t been home for Thanksgiving since 2002 and had always missed my mom´s birthdays. I just wanted to do nothing for a year and do family stuff and be normal”, expressed Louis Hinnant. He returned for one last season in 2013-2014 playing for Kaposvari KK (Hungary-A Division) playing 35 games averaging 11.1ppg, 3.3rpg, Assists-1(6.0apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 78.2%. “It was good to come back and finish the way I wanted to. I didn´t win a title though. But I was happy that the team exceeded expectations We got to the final, but couldn´t win, because we didn´t have the budget or roster. I was happy that we competed well”, added Louis Hinnant. In 2014 he finally hung up his jersey and knew it was the right time even if he could of played longer as he could have returned back to Hungry for an eighth season. “You see a lot of guys that will play something like 10-12 years and didn´t make enough money and then return home and don´t know what to do. I didn´t want to do that. The year before my last, I could have had a coaching job, but didn´t take it. After my seventh season, the coaching job was still there and I decided to take it. I knew that I wanted to get into coaching so I ended career early instead of too late”, warned Louis Hinnant.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing ex Umass-Lowell standout Jahad Thomas

Hinnant is in his sixth season as an assistant with the University of Lowell and loves his job with being able to work with young talented players. “The most rewarding thing about working with young players is seeing them pursue what I was trying to do in school. I like being able to witness their journey and be a guy that they can reach out to. I stress having fun. The business side will come soon enough. Now the kids can still play for fun”, warned Louis Hinnant. You often will see this gigantic coaching staff at the NCAA level where one guy has a specific duty, but that isn´t the case at the University of Lowell. “I do a bit of everything. At other schools you have like 8-9 coaches who try to break up things. We have 5 coaches. I do a lot of individual training with players. I´m also hands on with the day to day with tactics and the x´s and o´s. I also am on the road with recruiting. I was recently in New Mexico, Texas, Phoenix and St Louis looking for new talent. I also assist with scheduling and marketing. I really enjoy it”, stated Louis Hinnant. Over the years he has seen numerous players in the program develop and go into the pro ranks and keeps tabs on the guys. “I remember a lot of guys like Jahad Thomas or a Akeem Williams who plays in France or a Ryan Jones who is in Portugal. All these guys came to Lowell with a goal. They all were coachable, listened and had no problems asking questions. They have all shown that guys can come from a small school and make it as a professional. We will have more guys coming out in the future”, warned Louis Hinnant. At age 35 the American still has a long coaching career ahead of him and has goals. “I want to compete for the national title, but at the same time enjoy the process of building something great. That is a reason why I came to Lowell. I really would like to get to the NCAA tournament. An individual goal is to be able to be considered to be good enough to be at a high level program and someday be a head coach. I have had the chance to move on, but I value stability. I really love coaching with the Lowell staff. I don´t care about jumping around”, warned Louis Hinnant. He also wouldn´t remind returning back to Boston College down the road if an opportunity presented itself. “It´s like a catch 22. I root for Boston College and have good ties to the staff. I would never want to get a job there because someone was let go. I would love to help them get back to where they were when I was there”, stressed Louis Hinnant. He still texts his ex teammates Jared Dudley and Craig Smith. Dudley was his roommate at Boston College and will never forget the laughs that he had then. He also knows exactly how a Craig Smith would be on the court today, if he returned to Conte Forum today and put on his sneakers. “He would shoot a lot more three´s. As the game has changed over time, so has his. He recently played in the Big 3 tournament and was hitting three´s”, laughed Louis Hinnant. With currently 7 Germans in the NBA, he knows just how much basketball has developed further in Germany and has one message. “For all Germans who want to play basketball in the States, please contact me”, stressed Louis Hinnant. Louis Hinnant is just focused and interested in the University of Lowell having success, but most importantly being that smart mentor who will bring out the best in his players, the same way he did in his teammates when he was a player.

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