In the most recent installment in his "Forgotten Legends" interview series, CHN writer Jon Teitel caught up with UNCG great Kyle Hines. Hines is one of four players in the history of the Southern Conference to earn all-conference honors in each of his four seasons, and he remains the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder.
Jon Teitel: As a freshman at UNCG you were named SoCon Freshman of the Year with a team-high 8.6 RPG, a conference-high 62.1 FG% (#7 in the nation), and a school-record 3.5 BPG (#4 in the nation). How were you able to come in as a freshman and be so successful so quickly?
Kyle Hines: I knew coming in that the college game was very different from high school. Even before I got to college I tried to prepare myself physically through weight training and different workouts that would help me get used to the faster pace of college basketball. I also owe a lot of my freshman success to coach Fran McCaffery. I feel that he gave me a lot of confidence by putting me in positions on the floor where he knew I could succeed.
JT: In 2005 Coach McCaffery left to coach at Siena and was replaced by Mike Dement. What was it like to go through a coaching change, and which coach did you enjoy playing for the most?
KH: Initially it was not easy because Coach McCaffery's move was very unexpected. We were coming off of a pretty successful season and I was looking forward to the following season. Coach Mac was one of the main reasons that I chose to attend UNCG, and after he left we all had a feeling of uncertainty about our future. After meeting Coach Dement those feelings of uncertainty quickly diminished, as he helped make the transition a lot easier than I expected. I enjoyed playing for both of them equally. Even though they had different coaching styles, they both helped me have success throughout my college career.
JT: In December 2005 you pulled down a career-high 21 rebounds against the College of Charleston. What is your secret for rebounding?
KH: My secret is positioning. Since I am shorter than most other post players I have to put myself in the best position possible in order to have an advantage on the boards.
JT: Later that month you scored 20 points at home in a loss to top-ranked Duke (led by 35 points from JJ Redick) before a school-record 21,124 people. What was it like to play the #1 team in the country on New Year's Eve, and could you tell at the time how good a player Redick would become?
KH: It was a memorable experience for many reasons. First, not many players have the opportunity to compete against the top team in the country. Secondly, it was the largest crowd that I had ever played in front of. To be able to showcase your talents in front of that many people was definitely a special event. That particular game also gave me a lot of confidence to know that I could play well against any team in the country. I always thought Redick would be a good NBA player because he is a great long-range shooter and there are not that many great shooters in the NBA. I also knew that he would have a good NBA career because he had a strong work ethic while at Duke, which I feel is one of the keys to having a successful career on any level.
JT: In 2006 you scored a career-high 38 points in a two-point overtime loss to Marshall (Markel Humphrey made two free throws with five seconds left in OT). Was it just one of those scenarios where every shot you put up seemed to go in because you were "in the zone", and did you think that Ricky Hickman's three-pointer at the buzzer was going in?
KH: I just got in a really good rhythm from the start of that game. My teammates did a great job finding me, allowing me to get a lot of easy baskets early, and as the game went on the basket got bigger and bigger. I definitely felt like I was "in a zone". It felt like I was in my front driveway shooting the ball by myself. It was just one of those games where everything I did was right. I was certain that Ricky's shot was going in! Ricky is such a good player that I thought every shot he took was going in. He just happened to miss that one, but it was still a memorable game despite the loss.
JT: In 2007 you were named an All-American and became the first player in school history to be named conference POY. What did it mean to you to win such outstanding individual honors, and did you feel like you were one of the best players in the country?
KH: To be named an All-American was probably one of the greatest accomplishments of my college career. It was a dream to be named one of the top players in the nation, especially because coming into college I was not looked at as a highly-touted recruit. It was a sort of gratification that all my hard work was paying off. After that year I started to realize that I could compete and play with any of the top players in the nation, which gave me a new confidence entering my senior season.
JT: You are one of only four SoCon players ever to be named All-Conference four times. How were you able to continue to dominate throughout your career, and did you realize at the time how prolific a player you were?
KH: The SoCon has a very rich history. It is one of the oldest conference in the NCAA. Many great players have come out of the SoCon, so to be one out of only four to accomplish something is a great achievement. While I was in school I did not realize how prolific a player I was. Now that my college career is over and I look back I am starting to realize the magnitude of the things I accomplished, and I am amazed!
JT: You are one of only six college players with 2000+ points, 1000+ rebounds and 300+ blocks in their career (Alonzo Mourning, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Pervis Ellison and Derrick Coleman, all of whom were top-2 NBA draft picks). What does it mean to you to be in such prestigious company, and how were you able to put up such numbers despite being only 6'6"?
KH: To be in the same company as all of these great players is truly an honor for me. Duncan, Robinson, and Mourning are three of the greatest NBA centers of all time, while Ellison and Coleman had great All-Star caliber careers. For me to be associated with this list of players is probably the biggest achievement of my career. I really do not know how I was able to put up such numbers despite only being 6'6". I have always been an undersized post player who always had to match-up against bigger guys. I just found ways to use my other attributes (quickness, strength, leaping ability, and length) to gain advantages over bigger and taller opponents.
JT: You played in Italy for two seasons, became German Championship Finals MVP in 2011, and won the Euroleague season championship in 2012. What did you learn from these experiences, and how does playing professionally in Europe compare to college basketball?
KH: The main thing I learned is how to be a professional and take full advantage of the opportunities that are given to you. I have had the privilege of playing with a lot of veterans that have had long successful careers over here, and they have taught me what it means to be a true professional athlete both on and off the court. The biggest difference between college and international basketball is the level of "basketball IQ" that many of the international players have. Many of the European players do not have the athletic ability that a lot of US college players have, but they are able to think the game through and make plays easier for themselves just by using their experience and basketball intelligence.
JT: Your father Reggie played in several NFL training camps, and your brother Tyler recently finished his basketball career at UMES. Do you credit at least some of your success to genetics, and who is the best athlete in the family?
KH: I credit a lot of my success to genetics. My family has a strong athletic background so I have been blessed with many athletic talents. I also credit my father's work ethic in athletics as something he passed down to both me and my brother. As a former athlete he knew what qualities were necessary to being successful. I am by far the best athlete in the family...but do not tell my dad that I said that because he still thinks he can beat me and my brother in everything!
Hines is also on Jon's list of best fantasy players in SoCon history.
Appalachian State: Donald Sims (2011) 2185 PTS (#1), 358 3PM (#1), 89.2 FT% (#1), conference POY
Charleston: Thaddeous Delaney (1997) 1564 PTS (#4), 1119 REB (#2), 203 BLK (#1), 54 FG%, All-American, conference POY
Chattanooga: Willie White (1984) 1972 PTS (#1), 197 STL (#2), 83.1 FT% (#3), conference POY
Citadel: Regan Truesdale (1985) 1661 PTS (#1), 688 REB (#5), All-American, 2-time conference POY
Davidson: Stephen Curry (2009) 2635 PTS (#1), 221 STL (#3), 414 3PM (#1), 41.2 3P% (#3), 87.6 FT% (#1), 2-time All-American, 2-time conference POY
Elon: Jesse Branson (1965) 2241 PTS (#1), 1969 REB (#1), 2-time All-American, conference POY
Furman: Frank Selvy (1954) 2538 PTS (#1), 3-time All-American, national POY
Georgia Southern: Chester Webb (1956) 2542 PTS (#1), 1685 REB (#1), 2-time All-American
UNC Greensboro: Kyle Hines (2008) 2147 PTS (#1), 1047 REB (#1), 185 STL (#3), 349 BLK (#1), 58.4 FG% (#4), All-American, conference POY
Samford: Steve Barker (1982) 1902 PTS (#2), 85 FT% (#1)
Western Carolina: Henry Logan (1968) 3290 PTS (#1), 1037 AST (#1), 221 STL (#1), 4-time All-American
Wofford: James "Daddy" Neal (1953) 2078 PTS (#4), 1521 REB (#1)