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Interview Preview: Kyle Hines – CSKA Moscow Star “I strive to play at the highest level”

Maccabi Tel Aviv welcomes CSKA Moscow to Israel for a Euroelague Gameday 24 clash on Thursday night March 1st, 21:00 at Yad Eliyahu and the Yellow & Blue will have their hands full with a loaded Russian side roster that features some of the greats in Nando de Colo, Will Clyburn, Cory Higgins and of the course Sergio Rodriguez. At 18-5, CSKA leads the Euroleague standings while Maccabi Tel Aviv sits in 8th place sporting a 12-11 record.

Another European stalwart is Kyle Hines who has made quite the career playing overseas and outside of his native United States. The 6’6 New Jersey native played his college ball at UNC Greensboro and went undrafted upon his graduation in 2008. After breaking record after record in college, the center went on to play at Veroli in Italy under coach Andrea Trinchieri and won a pair of second division championships. He then headed to Brose Bamberg for a season where American Chris Fleming, the former German National Team coach and current Brooklyn Nets assistant manned the sidelines helping the Sicklerville born big man win another league title plus the German Cup.

Hines began to rack up more European hardware once he arrived in Greece at Olympiacos where he captured back to back Euroleague titles and then moved onto CSKA Moscow where he added another Euroleague and 3 VTB League Championships with coach Dimitris Itoudis along with his first domestic league title under Ettore Messina. But before we get into his basketball career, Hines is “Just a Kid From Sicklerville” as he takes us inside his Docuseries that is about to release episode 3:

“The next episode should be coming out at the end of next week. The idea behind the series is that we wanted to create a platform for players that play overseas to show how their life is. We wanted to give the fans back at home and the fans in Europe the chance to see how us as athletes live in Europe and we wanted to showcase that.”

Hines looked up at a number of players when he was growing up including one of the games true characters and greats, “I looked up a lot to Charles Barkley as my dad was a big fan of his and he used to show me how he played so I could learn from him. Dennis Rodman and Anthony Mason, blue collar guys that play everyday.”

There’s very few basketball players who don’t dream of playing in the NBA one day and Hines was no exception, “Of course as a kid growing up in America you dream about the NBA and to have your name called on draft night. But what’s most important for me is to strive to always compete at the highest level. I’m happy where I am at.”

Not only has the CSKA center had an amazing career and been able to compete at the highest of levels, he’s been a winner everywhere he’s played, “I’ve been blessed to play under some of the best coaches and play alongside some of the best players. I always try to learn from a mentor and veteran players who I can ask questions to. It helped me succeed in my career.”

CSKA is always at the top of the standings year after year and Hines spoke about why the team has been successful for so long, “I think it’s because of the culture of the team and the history of all the titles that the team has won. There is a great core of players that has been here for multiple years together.”

For many years Hines played against one of the Europe’s greats in Sergio Rodriguez and now for the first time in his career he has the opportunity to play beside the court maestro, “It’s incredible. I’d rather play with Sergio than against him. He has the Spanish style of play of constant movement and he’s always in transition and we’re running to keep up with him. His leadership and experience is special; he’s won everything and we all can learn from him everyday.”

Another star with CSKA is French born Nando de Colo, a player who Hines has been playing with in Moscow for a number of seasons, “Nando is an incredible player and person both on and off of the court. He gives us that mental toughness and edge that we need. He always gives us a big bucket when we need it. He pushes us to play on his level every day.”

There’s a rich history between CSKA and Maccabi and the Yellow & Blue will be looking to take the win and cement their position in the top 8. Hines looked at what the keys will be for CSKA to stop Neven Spahija’s side, “They are a very strong offensive team with very talented guards who like to take the ball in transition. We need to slow the game down and play a more half court. We’ll also need to control the glass and rebounds. They are very talented offensive team so we can’t allow them multiple opportunities to score.”