A month ago the easyCredit BBL was still in full swing and the Fraport Skyliners were in another season slump, but kept their composure and nerves and played a very strong game on the road against their rivals Giessen 46ers winning 90-82 on March 7 snapping an annoying 6 game losing streak. It seemed like possibly the 2016 FIBA Europe Cup winner was finally going to turn the season around, but how often did I think this this season? At the same time the new Coronavirus continued making new bigger headlines every day, but no one dared to even think that something like that would soon affect world sports and the entertainment field. On May 10th there was a Basketball Champions League game between the Telekom Baskets Bonn and AEK Athens in Bonn and on May 11th a Fiba Europe cup game between medi Bayreuth and U-Banca Transilvania Cluj Napoca (Romania-Liga Nationala) in Bayreuth that had no spectators. “Playing without fans would be extremely tough to do. They give us that extra boost of energy. It would be hard for me to do but if that’s what we have to do to play I’ll do it”, warned Shaquille Hines. These were the first strong warning signs that the Coronavirus was for real and already had fans in Bonn and Bayreuth reeling with anger, but it would become a lot worse. The next day the easyCredit BBL postponed the season and have prolonged the delay until April 30th where an announcement will be made if the season will be completed. “When the league shut down I was very disappointed. I love basketball and I love to compete. It’s just an unfortunate situation. But safety comes first so I understand”, warned Shaquille Hines. He also became more aware how to handle himself in public with the outbreak of the Coronavirus. “I became aware and I did my own research and the club told us what to do. I stayed away from everything and big groups and washed my hands every chance I got”, commented Shaquille Hines. Most leagues have shut down in Europe, but the BBL still wants to keep the option open about attempting to complete the season. Ex Atlanta Hawk and current FC Barcelona point guard Malcolm Delaney criticized the Euroleague for wanting to continue the season citing it being very difficult for guys to get back into game shape. “I agree with Malcom. It’s going b so hard to get in game shape and game rhythm without playing basketball for over 1 month. But I understand the league it’s a business”, stressed Shaquille Hines. But at the moment the last thing on the minds of the players is basketball, but moreover the Coronavirus crisis. Shaquille Hines was on his way of taking more steps of becoming that Jimmy Butler type of player but then the Coronavirus got in the way.
Hines is in his fourth professional season after playing in Sweden and Greece in his first two seasons and last season played in Braunschweig while this season is with the Fraport Skyliners. The 27 year old 203cm forward is from Chicago and back home with his loved ones. He has been keeping most contact in these hard times with friend Jaylin Airington who is playing with the SK Cherkasy Monkeys (Ukraine-Superleague). He saw what the situation was like in Germany with the Coronavirus and now he is seeing close hand how Americans are dealing with it and having more difficulty than Germans. “My day to day life here is pretty chill. We can’t do much at all. A lot of things are shut down. Just grocery stores and some restaurants. Americans are more panicky than Germans I would say”, expressed Shaquille Hines. Like so many other people in Europe the Coronavirus took him by surprise as he lived his life in the Northwest center in Frankfurt where the Skyliners have their practice facility. “I did not think the corona virus would have this big of an impact I think it took all of us off guard but safety comes first. I noticed how distant and protective everybody was once the news got serious. I notice how empty the mall would get day by day”, added Shaquille Hines. He has a lot more time to reflect on the future of basketball and his career. With the season possibly being cancelled, he knows it will be something new getting back into the lab earlier than usual and have a lot more time to work on his game as well as finding a new employer. “It will be an adjustment but I will eventually find my rhythm. The advantages are you get to work on your game more and take care of the body. Also be with your family longer. There are no disadvantages to me. I’ve already prepared myself for the next step. I know the BBL will take a hit financially. But know no one saw this coming. So I’ll just go with the flow and hopefully get the best deal I can get”, warned Shaquille Hines. But the most important thing for Shaq as he is called by most is family. The whole Coronavirus crisis has made him more reflective about life knowing that it can be taken from you at any time. “I learned to lean on family when times get hard. And to never take life for granted honestly. It can be gone in a blink of an eye”, warned Shaquille Hines. Even if this is a very serious time for everyone, you can´t get too depressed with everything and not forget to have some sense of humor concerning being captured in Quarantine with teammate Quantez Robertson for a few days. “I would get sick of his music, but Tez is my guy and would keep me entertained I´m sure”, stressed Shaquille Hines.
Hines was born on March 23, 1993 in Chicago and got his first basketball experience at Harlan Community Academy. He then continued his basketball career at the University of Texas Pan American (NCAA) in 2012 and played there until 2016 amassing a total of 122 games and was able to average scoring in double figures in his last three years and averaged 12,0ppg and 5,0rpg. In his senior year he averaged 13.9ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 50.6%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 74.4%.Eventhough it has been 4 years since he played his last NCAA game, he still has his NCAA days in good memory. “My fondest memories at UTRGV was developing as a player and getting that experience to play a lot. Experience is the biggest teacher I learned so much from just playing”, warned Shaquille Hines. He already learned how to be a consistent scorer at the NCAA level as in his last two season he scored in double figures in 43 of 61 games. He had many stellar games in school like his 30 point explosion against N Mexico State, his 27 point game against Nebraska-Omaha or his 24 point games against Chicago State and North Dakota, but his best game was against SE Missouri State where he scored 23 points, hauled down 8 rebounds, dished out 7 assists and had 3 blocks in the 83-74 victory. “The game vs SE Missouri was one of my best overall games. That game showed the player I am and what I can do on the court”, warned Shaquille Hines. He credits 2019 NBA champion with the Toronto Raptors Pascal Siakam as his toughest cover became a professional thanks to the guidance of his head coach then in the NCAA Dan Hipsher. “He made me mentally tough, He challenged me and made me better and forced me to get better. He expected me to show up every game and I thank him for that”, stressed Shaquille Hines.
In the summer of 2016 he signed his first professional contract with Boras Basket (Sweden-Basketligan). In his rookie season despite having trouble adjusting to the time difference, he needed no adjustment time to the Swedish style as he played 33 games averaging 11.2ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 75.3%. He scored in double figures in 19 games and had 3 21 point games against Umea, and against Jamtland twice. He had a few other Americans with him on the team, but was able to take very much from then 33 year old Swedish forward Christian Maraker who played his last NCAA game in 2006 with the University of the Pacific. “He was a great player and teammate. I learned a lot from him as well. He was very smart. He invested in things to take care of his body, he ate healthy all time. Those are the main things I took with me”, warned Shaquille Hines. Before heading to Greece for his second professional year, he was fortunate to breathe some NBA air at the 2017 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. This was a golden opportunity for him to play with and against the best young players at that time and remembers one young man well. “Playing with the OKC summer league team was great. I enjoyed every minute of it. I learned so much in a short period of time. Domantas Sabonis was very impressive and he was so skilled and strong and athletic. Great guy as well”, stressed Shaquille Hines. In his second professional season he signed with ASA Koroivos Amaliadas (Greece-A1) playing 26 games averaging 10.0ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 71.4%. He was fairly consistent again scoring in double figures in 15 games. Two of his best games were in major blowout loses to Olympiakos and Panathinaikos where he scored 17 and 16 points. Even if his team lost combined by 85 points, he will never forget the experience playing against some of Europe´s best players.” My experience from playing against Olympiakos and Panathinaikos was great. Those are the teams and level I one day want to play for. I will always have the memory that I played well individually against both clubs. That’s good for my confidence”, stressed Shaquille Hines.
In his third professional season he made the jump to the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig in Germany´s highest league easyCredit BBL. It would be one of Braunschweig´s best seasons in almost a decade as they reached the playoffs again after a long dry spell. He definitely made the right move coming to Germany and adjusted well coming from the Greek league. “My experience in the BBL with Braunschweig was great. I liked it a lot there even if it took me a while to get adjusted with the team but I became more comfortable than ever. Every one played their role and I think That´s why we were so successful. Playing in the BBL was very competitive I think that was the biggest difference from the Greek league. Every team from top to bottom is very competitive in the BBL”, warned Shaquille Hines. .The whole second half of the season was a sheer roller coaster ride. Whenever they had big wins, big loses would follow. They lost some real nail bitters against Giessen 99-97, to Science City Jena 85-83, and to Rasta Vechta 88-85 and in the last few weeks lost to Bamberg, Bonn and MBC combined by only 13 points. On the last weekend, they saved their best for last beating Frankfurt and Bayreuth to sneak into the last 8th place playoff spot to face FC Bayern Munich. Obviously reaching the playoffs was a huge season highlight, but so was beating Alba Berlin and Bamberg in the regular season. “Those wins vs Bamberg and Berlin were huge. We played great defensively those games. That game was great as a basketball player you live for games like that. We were excited after beating them”, stressed Shaquille Hines. Braunschweig didn´t lie down and die against FC Bayern Munich, but played their hearts out, but just couldn´t match their depth getting swept losing by 11 points and twice by 10 points. Braunschweig was one of those teams that weren´t seen as a playoff team before the season and made it because they played as a team and stuck together at all times. Hines had some amazing teammates like Deandre Lansdowne who is living the ultimate Cinderella story having gone from Pro B to the BBL in a matter of 3 seasons and is a guy that the American will never forget. “Dre is great and he’s a professional. I learned a lot from over this short time on how he approaches everything. We definitely wouldn’t be where we were without him. “The Dre story and grind is tremendous. I think he still has a chip on his shoulder as we all do. As a basketball player you never want to get to high and never too low”, expressed Shaquille Hines. . He also had other great teammates like Scott Eatherton and Christian Sengfelder who were huge contributors to the success of the team. For the American Eatherton was the best center in the BBL ahead of Giessen beast John Bryant. “For me I will say Scott is number 1, I’m biased because he was my teammate but he’s great he’s a work horse on the court. He’s so skilled and has great hands with a great touch. He is also a great teammate. Christian was a great addition for us. Playing NCAA has helped him a lot. He played against great competition and many pros during his time in college and that has prepared him for now”, said Shaquille Hines.
Hines who lists the 4 legends Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Shaq on his own personal NBA Mount Rushmore had a solid season with Braunschweig playing 34 games averaging 8.2ppg, 4.6rpg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 66.1%. His stats weren´t quite as good as his first two years in Sweden and Greece, but the EasyCredit BBL was also a step above those leagues in terms of skill level and competition. He compares his game to a Luol Deng in his prime and is still working on becoming that type of Jimmy Butler player who made a name for himself with the Chicago Bulls, but in the last years has been bouncing around the league with the Timberwolves, 76ers and currently with the Miami Heat. Butler is a lock down defender that became a go to guy in his fourth professional season and developed his three pointer. While Hines is athletic and is continuing to develop a three pointer and is a versatile defender and can defend smaller players and is also potent off ball. With Braunschweig he scored in double figures in 14 games and finished the season very strong scoring in double figures in his last 6 games. He played his best basketball in the Munich series averaging 16,0ppg and 9,0rpg. His three pointer continues to be a work in progress. After shooting 38% and 39% in his first two seasons, he shot only 34% and 35% in the last two seasons, and thinks that he is capable of becoming a 40% shooter from the parking lot. “I am very confident that I will become a 40 percent shooter. I work so hard towards it. I just have to take smarter shots”, warned Shaquille Hines. Before he would start his fourth professional season with the Fraport Skyliners, he had some goals last summer to help improve his game so he would be prepared for the new season. “The things I’m working on the most this season is my shot. I want to become a 40 percent shooter and also my ability to drive and attack the basket and make plays for others. In Greece I was determined to show that I can play at a top level. I had to prove that too myself and I was up for the challenge I was focused and I worked hard that year to have a good season individually. My game grew just from the experience, experience is the best teacher”, warned Shaquille Hines.
In his fourth professional season he signed with the Fraport Skyliners. It was a tough season from the get go and when the Coronavirus came and halted the season the team was in 14th place with an unsatisfactory 6-15 season. The toughest part about the losing season is that he came from a winning culture in Braunschweig and surely was expecting to experience another winning season with Frankfurt. “The toughest part is losing honestly. We let a lot of games slip away. We are a better team than our record”, warned Shaquille Hines. They lost the first three games of the season and were never able to recuperate from that. After that they were up and down, but had real problems closing out games and just choking in crunch-time. They gave away 5.-6 games and had they won at least half of them would have been knocking on the playoff door. Then 2020 came and the team lost 7 games in a row which was the last straw and robbed them any chance for playoff hopes. Injuries also hurt the team tremendously as they lost their starting point guard Anthony Hickey for the season and then had numerous guys injured like Richard Freudenberg, Akeem Vargas, Leon Kratzer, Lamont Jones and Hines. A further problem was the defense. For years the Skyliners belonged to the best defensive teams in the league averaging giving up in the high 60´s, but this season were giving up 80 points while scoring only 75 points which made it hard to win games easier. “I think we have just been inconsistent defensively. But we showed that we can be one of the best defensive teams and we are confident”, stressed Shaquille Hines. Frankfurt had signed a new sniper Matt Mobley who had played at Iona(NCAA) and were hoping he could give the team a new spark. He had had a solid debut in a Skyliner jersey scoring 8 points in Giessen and he definitely had game. “Matt could have a been a great add on for us. He would’ve helped us a lot. We were missing a piece like that”, added Shaquille Hines.
Not only was the losing tough for Shaquille Hines, but also when the BBL was halted by the Coronavirus. After an up and down start with his play, he was finally coming into his own recently. He played 19 games averaging 9.4ppg, 5.1rpg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 70.7%. In his first 11 games, he scored in double figures only 3 times and shot 7/27 from outside, but in his last 8 games scored in double figures in 6 games and shot 21/52 from outside. He had his best game in a very bitter 83-81 loss to Crailsheim where he dropped a personal BBL high of 29 points(7/9 from outside) and grabbed 8 rebounds. That is definitely a game that he will never forget. The question is will he ever be able to watch it for a second time? “That game was extremely tough I didn’t sleep for 2 days honesty. And I did not watch that game I couldn’t take it”, said Shaquille Hines. His three point shooting is a tale of two halves as the second half showed just how good of s shooter he can be. “The beginning of the year was a struggle I was rushing every shot. But I slowed down took better shots and saw big improvements as the season went on”, warned Shaquille Hines. The season was definitely up and down, but the way he finished will give him the needed confidence for the next step in his career. “I will always be confident in my game regardless. I know what I’m capable of. The season was getting better for me. I was going to continue to build on it”, stressed Shaquille Hines. The American will learn the fate of the season on April 30th and even if it ends then, he will have a early summer vacation and know that he was another step closer to becoming that Jimmy Butler type of player and have special Quantez Robertson moments that he will always be able to share at home in Chicago or elsewhere in the world where he is playing. “I feel like I was making a step into taking my game to the next level honestly. I was feeling and playing good as of late. I love playing with Tez. I respect him a whole lot. How hard he plays every game motivates me every game”, stated Shaquille Hines.