Jon Teitel's "Forgotten Legends" Series: Rutgers' Roy Hinson

    
October 27th, 2011
In the most recent installment in his "Forgotten Legends" interview series, CHN writer Jon Teitel spent some time with Rutgers great Roy Hinson. During his time at Rutgers Hinson eventually became one of the school's best scorers and shot blockers before moving on to play eight seasons in the NBA.

1982 Postseason NIT

Jon Teitel: You had a four-point win over Iona thanks to a 19-2 run to start the second half. What did Coach Tom Young tell you at halftime, and was the game pretty much over after that great run?

Roy Hinson: I do not remember that game too well, but Iona had a guy named Gary Springer who was a high school legend in the tri-state area so we focused on trying to stop him. Coach Young was great at making halftime adjustments and we had a pretty strong team even through we did not always play up to our potential.

JT: You lost to eventual runner-up Purdue. Were they just a more talented team than you?

RH: I think that both Clarence Tillman and I had good games, but Purdue was just on a different level that night.

JT: In 1982 you had a school-record 11 blocks in a game against Stanford, and your 355 career blocks were also a school record until Hamady N'Diaye broke it a couple of years ago. How on earth did you block 11 shots in a game, and what is your secret for blocking shots?

RH: When I started playing as a sophomore in high school that was just about the only thing I could do, and I just perfected it in high school and carried it on to college. In terms of the Stanford game they were just foolish enough to keep shooting! Stanford coach Tom Davis coached me to a gold medal at the World University Games in Romania in 1981, so that was all the motivation I needed to play well that night.

JT: In 1983 you and Greg Jones were named conference co-players of the year. What did it mean to you to win such an outstanding individual honor?

RH: It was a great honor and I was very humbled because I did not anticipate winning. Jones also had a great year so I was happy for him. I know it is a cliché but I owe a lot to my teammates.

1983 NCAA Tournament

JT: You scored six points in a seven-point win over Southwest Louisiana. What did you learn from the 1982 NIT that helped you in the 1983 NCAA Tournament?

RH: We just learned that we had to step it up to another level. When you are a mid-major and have to play against the big boys you have to bring your "A" game. I was in foul trouble that night but my teammate John Battle stepped up.

JT: You had 10 points and eight rebounds in a loss to St. John's (Chris Mullin had 24 on 10-13 FG). Could you tell at the time that Mullin was going to become a star, and what was the feeling like in your locker room afterwards?

RH: We played them well for a half before Mullin took over. I knew Mullin was a great shooter but did not know if he would become a star. He was not fast but he was quick like Larry Bird. Sometimes lefties are harder to play against.

JT: In the summer of 1983 you were drafted 20th overall by Cleveland (six spots behind Clyde Drexler). Did you see that as a validation of your college career or the realization of a lifelong dream of reaching the NBA?

RH: I cannot even say it was a dream come true because I never totally focused on that. I knew that I had the potential after my teammate Kelvin Troy told me, "Big fella, you have some of the tools to get to the next level." It finally sunk in after some of the All-American games and became real once I got drafted.

JT: You participated in the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, which was won by Spud Webb. What was the best dunk you ever made, and how did a 5'6" point guard win a slam dunk contest?

RH: Spud was from Dallas, which is where the dunk contest was held. He was a freak of nature, as nobody believed that he could dunk. His dunks were not exceptional but he still got way up there. I was picked for the contest because I could dunk over people even though I was not as athletic as some of the other guys. I wanted to win but I was not fancy enough: I was just happy to participate. My best dunk was definitely not in that contest. I was playing in Houston one night and came down on a fast break and dunked over Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson. I knew it was pretty exciting because when we played Atlanta the next game Battle invited me into the Hawks' locker room and they kept replaying my dunk over and over on the TV!

JT: You played eight years from 1983-1991 (career 14.2 PPG and 6.8 RPG), and your 882 career blocks are still in the top 100 in NBA history. How satisfied are you with your career, and do you consider yourself to be one of the best shot-blockers of your era?

RH: I am not really satisfied because my career did not end the way I wanted it to. I spent about two years on the injured list.

JT: You eventually had to retire due to several knee surgeries. How frustrating was it to not be able to go out on your own terms?

RH: I wish my knees would have held up better so that I could have played more years. It was very frustrating. My skills had not diminished but my body failed me. The players today lift weights and have trainers, which I was not dedicated to back then. I remember World B Free once said, "Young fella, you have to save your legs." I would run and dunk all through practice, but as I got older I finally understood what he meant.

JT: In 2004 you established Hinson Financial Services (a company specializing in securing private/commercial financing), and you also help administer the Financial Education Program of the NBA Players Association as a Regional Representative. Why did you decide to start your own financial services company, and why do some NBA players who sign multi-million-dollar contracts end up losing so much of their money?

RH: My father owned his own business so I always wanted to own my own company. I currently do commercial mortgages. I have been a regional representative ever since I stopped playing, and it is the next best thing to playing because it keeps me involved me in the game. Your question is a bit loaded! I gave my parents gifts and helped them remodel their house but never had to buy them a new one. Some members of the "new generation" come from very tough backgrounds and neighborhoods, and a lot of them want to get their family out of that situation as their top priority. You always hear about the 5% of players who get in trouble, but you never hear about the 95% who do well and perform charity work because it is not sexy enough for the media. You hear about the guys who struggle but not about the guys who have gone into business or become successful coaches.

JT: Your son Roy III also played college basketball, and your cousin Ben Hinson is the all-time leading scorer in Charleston Southern history. How good a player is your son, and does he credit at least some of his success to genetics?

RH: My oldest son Calvin Chitwood went to CSUN and is now playing professionally in Holland. Roy III went to a few different schools and like a lot of other people he is now trying to figure out his next step.

Hinson is also on Jon's list of best pro players in Big East history.

Cincinnati: Oscar Robertson (1961)
Connecticut: Ray Allen (1996)
DePaul: George Mikan (1949)
Georgetown: Allen Iverson (1996)
Louisville: Wes Unseld (1969)
Marquette: Dwyane Wade (2003)
Notre Dame: Adrian Dantley (1977)
Pittsburgh: Billy Knight (1975)
Providence: Lenny Wilkens (1961)
Rutgers: Roy Hinson (1984)
Seton Hall: Bob Davies (1949)
USF: Chucky Atkins (2000)
St. John's: Chris Mullin (1986)
Syracuse: Carmelo Anthony (2003)
Villanova: Paul Arizin (1951)
West Virginia: Jerry West (1961)