Former Spartan, Kyle Hines shares experience of basketball, Europe

Matthew Johnson
   Sports Editor 

Dating back to 1967, there have been few in the history of the men’s basketball program that have left such a mark as Kyle Hines. When documenting the basketball tradition of UNC-Greensboro, there is perhaps no greater player to have stepped on the parquet floor than Hines, who was a  power forward from 2004 to 2008.

Today,  the all-time men’s leader in points, rebounds and blocks currently is playing with the Russian professional team, CSKA Moscow. Though the power forward last donned the Spartan blue and gold seven years ago, the moments that Hines enjoyed at UNCG are still fresh.

“I had so many great moments and memories at UNCG,” Hines said. “But if there were a few that stood out, freshman year, we played the University of Chattanooga at Fleming Gym. We were down 21 points at halftime, and eventually came back and won the game. I remember that game specially because that game helped spark an eventually run in the SoCon Tournament.”

At UNCG, Hines joined the likes of David Robinson, Tim Duncan, and Alonzo Mourning and recorded 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 blocks in his college career.  With his #42 jersey hung in the rafters of Fleming Gym, the fifth player to receive this honor, Hines was the first Spartan to win the illustrious Southern Conference Player of the Year Award and was an Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention. However, while being one of the most decorated athlete in the school’s history is impressive, Hines was more pleased with the performances of his team.

“My whole entire senior season was one of the greatest years of my life. I have so many great memories from that season,” Hines said. “From beating Georgia Tech on the road, for the university first win over an ACC team, to the epic game against Davidson, going back and forth with Steph Curry. Every game we played that season was sold out, and I think that season help laid the groundwork to help put the program where it is at today, with the new facilities and now playing home games at the Greensboro Coliseum.”

After Greensboro, Hines went undrafted in the 2008 NBA Draft. Playing overseas, Hines has played in countries such as Italy, Germany, Greece and currently, Russia. With such a transition between nations, Hines talked about how he has adjusted to playing since his days at UNCG.

“I think on the court, the most important thing that has drastically improved is my overall basketball IQ and my ability to read the game,” Hines said. “In the professional ranks, everyone has talent, and everyone has tremendous skills and athleticism. What separates players is their ability to understand the game and read and react to certain situations that happen during the course of a game.”

While in Europe, Hines has followed a similarly decorated path which he walked while at UNCG. As a professional, Hines has been a two-time Euroleague champion, a German League Finals MVP and a Italian Cup Second Division MVP. As both a student of the game and someone with the experience of playing in both America and Europe, Hines touched upon the differences between the two games.

Both game and styles are very different from each other. Basketball in America is more individual based,” Hines said. “The game is built around mostly isolations and the one-on-one abilities of most players. The European game is based more on a team focus, with a lot of pick and rolls and screens. European players don’t necessary have the athleticism that American players have, so they rely more on the fundamentals.”

Hines, whose home is naturally on the court, also talked about the homes he has created in Europe. As someone who has played in four countries in his career, Hines gave his thoughts on each country.

“I’ve been fortunate to have lived and played in some amazing countries and cities. Each experience has been very different. In Italy, where I spent my first two seasons, it was an incredible experience. I lived in an authentic Italian town about 30 minutes outside of Rome,” Hines said.  

“In Germany, where I spent my third professional season, I played in a small city in Germany called Bamberg. It is famous for two things, beer and basketball. The city is crazy and fanatic about basketball,” Hines said. “After Germany, I moved to Athens. Greece has probably been my best experience off the court. I played for a team called the Olympiacos, which is one of the most historic sporting clubs in all of Europe. Athens was basically like living in paradise, sunny and warm all year round. I now play in Moscow, Russia. Even though it is cold majority of the year, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.”

Hines continued to reflect on his experiences.

“I’ve been very fortunate to live and travel in some of the greatest cities in Europe,” Hines said. “I’m always getting an opportunity to experience new things and learn about new cultures every time we travel to a new country or city. To me, this is my favorite part about playing basketball in Europe.”

Categories: Men's Basketball, Sports

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