Kyle Hines(CSKA Moscow) It Has Been A Tough Year With The Passing Of Kobe Bryant And The Coronavirus

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 and has 4 Euroleague titles in all. He currently is averaging 8,8ppg, 4,9rpg and 1,4apg in the Euroleague and 5,9ppg, 4,6rpg and 1,6apg 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 19th interview with him in Moscow during the coronavirus crisis.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber with Kyle Hines in Munich, Germany in January 2020

Hi Kyle Where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the out break of the Corona Virus?

I’m in Moscow at the moment. We are living in a difficult time. Life is changing day by day and sometimes even hour by hour as we get new news about the coronavirus. My family and I continue to remain optimistic and calm and continue to be prepared.

How are you and your family doing and how have you been coping through this world crisis?

So far every thing has been good. We are in the beginning stage and are hopeful. The Russian government has done a good job containing the coronavirus and we have been doing our part limiting our activities and not to be as much in public and just stay at home as much as possible. 

Has this been a time where you have had contact to other players and possibly with people you didn’t have so much contact in the past just trading stories and advice about this tough time?

My role as part of the player association has had me be in contact with many players from different teams and just checking in on their situation. There are many different situations and experiences that guys are going through. I make sure that guys have the resources needed to be able to carry on their normal daily lives. 

What has been the day to day schedule for you and the club. Many teams took the weekend off and resumed individual practices this week. How has it been for you?

We were having a shoot around Thursday when we heard about the postponement of the leagues. Friday we had a normal practice and had the weekend off. Since Monday we have had normal practices again to stay in shape and stay prepared. We have no idea what will happen.

How is the current state in Russia with the Corona Virus. In some places it’s better and in other places worse. Does something like this put fear into you?

I wouldn’t say fear, but the coronavirus has made us be more prepared. We have seen what it has done to places like Italy, Spain and Germany. In some places there is full quarantine. In Moscow we are preparing to what may happen. Russia has been lucky that it hasn’t been affected so much. I believe there have been something like less than 100 cases. The virus hasn’t spread fast here, but the numbers can change daily. We are trying to continue to do our part and stay away from the public. 

When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?

Not really. You don’t really think about that until it enters your daily life. I saw what happened in China and Italy and saw the travel bans. It didn’t affect us at much then, but as we heard about Rudy Gobert being diagnosed and the NBA cancelling the season, then we realized that it was serious. 

How have you experienced the day to day life in Moscow during the Corona Virus outbreak? Did you see that corona effect on the culture there or was it not so much different happening in your day to day dealings?

I have noticed in the last days that Russian people are getting more prepared and are more cautious of what the future could hold. We saw how other countries got prepared and then people began buying food needed for a quarantine or people going more to the pharmacy and restaurants and malls being less crowded. 

Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing?

Yes definitely. With all the news that I saw and information that I gathered, you have to be more aware and cautious of your surroundings. Every little thing could make a difference. Imagine if Gobert or Thompkins didn’t test positive right away, there could have been more players and teams infected. Everyone has to do their part to beat the virus. 

Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe including the Euroleague and the VTB were you compete. How disappointed would it be not finishing the season?

I think there are many scenario’s on the table at the moment. Five days ago, I feel that nobody really thought that we would be in the situation that we are in now. It is a day to day thing. The players and fans are optimistic that the Euroleague will resume again and that we can all get back to our normal lives. 

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. How do you see the situation of playing games without fans?

In certain places the fans are the pulse of the game. Everybody wants the fans to be there. We play for the fans. The most important concern now is the health and safety of all. It doesn’t make sense to have fans at the games now. I understand that. 

You played your last game against Lokomotiv winning 77-71 where you steered 11 points and 8 rebounds in the victory. Is this a game that you will remember for a long time?

I don’t think that I will only always remember that game, but this whole year. It has been a difficult year. First the passing of Kobe Bryant and now the coronavirus. The game of basketball has been tough in the last 3-4 months.

How tough would it be having the season end this way? CSKA Moscow were on their way to winning the VTB and would have had good chances in the Euroleague as well. How can you summarize a season when it ends so abruptly?

If it were to really end, then I could only summarize it as incomplete. Nobody would want it this way. We worked so hard in practice and battled so hard during games. I feel that we were at our peak and were playing our best basketball when play stopped. It is looming in the back of our heads that the end could be possible. 

There are many leagues that have shut down while others that are just suspended. Do you have any hope of the Euroleague resuming play in the next few months?

We are optimistic that play will continue, but at the same time know that a lot has to happen for that to occur. The health and safety of all remains the number one concern. The best case scenario would be that the virus is tamed and doesn’t spread as fast. Finding a solution to resume play and finish under normal conditions would be best.

In Germany there will be many teams fighting to survive if this break turns out to be a longer one. How is the basketball economy in Russia. Could a team like CSKA Moscow who are the richest team also be affected by the Corona Virus?

Many teams with big and small budgets in many countries and leagues will be affected. So many teams rely on the revenues from games and sponsors. The whole world has been affected financially. You can just hope for the best.

How has the whole Corona Virus affected you mentally? Your family is obviously your first priority but you also want to continue to play as long as you can. Does a break like this concern you about how you will return again once the virus is history?

No it doesn’t. The best thing for me is to just remain fit and ready. Important for me is not break my normal routine. I continue to prepare as if the normal season was going.

Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. You were 12 years old when he began in the NBA. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence? 

We had just come back from a game and landed back in Moscow. The news was devastating for all. Kobe Bryant meant so much for everyone not only in the States, but globally. He effected so many people not only as a player, but also of the court. I always had a connection with him, because I was from the same area as him and I knew many that knew him and knew coaches that coached him. He was my favorite player to watch then and today. Nobody will get over this anytime soon. 

How bitter is it that the NCAA March Madness has been canceled? This tournament for some kids is the greatest time of their lives. What advice would you give that senior who worked hard for 4 years and would have had his one and only chance now?

It is devastating for all involved. March Madness is a big deal. It is tough times not being able to fill out the bracket or watch games. I really feel for the seniors or kids form schools that don’t always make the tournament. If I had to give advice, I would say to find a positive moment and reflect on your great career. Try to use your career as motivation and momentum for your next step after school.

What was the last movie that you saw?

With my kids home from school, we are watching a lot of Disney movies. The last movie I saw was Frozen 2.

Thanks Kyle for the chat.

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