Three games in, Hines holding his own and drawing praise
LAS VEGAS, NV - After his first impression was good enough for a summer camp invite, Kyle Hines' second impression on the Charlotte Bobcats' staff might just be enough to jump start his professional basketball career.
Hines, a 6-6 forward who finished as UNC Greensboro's all-time leader in points, rebounds and blocked shots, seems to be earning more and more respect every day he plays with the Bobcats during the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League. He has drawn praise on more than one occasion from head coach and NBA icon Larry Brown - just by being himself.
"He's been great," Brown said to a group of reporters during camp. "He's really been well-coached, and if he was 6-8 or 6-9, he would have probably been in New York (on draft day). He's my George Lynch. He does everything you ask, he understands how to play, can play a lot of positions and makes effort plays. I can see why he had the career he had."
Hines, who earned his third straight USBWA All-District selection this season, set career records at UNCG with 2,187 points, 1,047 rebounds and 349 blocks. He is one of 97 players in college basketball history to record 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds and one of just six to also have 300 career blocks joining Alonzo Mourning, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Pervis Ellison and Derrick Coleman. This past season, he averaged 19.2 ppg, second in the Southern Conference behind Stephen Curry. He also led the conference in blocks with 95 and in rebounding at 9.1 per contest. His 56 steals also ranked among the conference’s leaders. He became just the fourth player in the Southern Conference’s 62-years of all-conference selections to become a four-time first-team selection and the first in 20 years.
Hines scored in double figures in each of his last 81 games, the longest active streak in the nation at the end of the year. He finished in the Top 5 among active players in career points, career rebounds, career blocked shots and career double-doubles (45).
Brown even made it a point to some of the higher-profile players in camp earlier this week during a mid-practice lecture. "We have some guys who were drafted [by the Bobcats] or who have played a year in the league, and I want them to match the intensity of a Kyle Hines or a James Mays."
Hines, a native of Sicklerville, NJ, worked out for the Bobcats’ front office staff and Brown immediately following last month’s NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando, FL. Interestingly, he was among six big men brought in for that workout, joining Joe Alexander, Donte Greene, Patrick Ewing Jr., Robert Dozier and Luc Mbah a Moute. Hines was the only one of the six players in that work out not drafted, but the Bobcats came away more than impressed. Hines had been tried as a small forward in Orlando, a position he hasn’t regularly played before, but had moved back to the low post for his workout with Charlotte. Hines dominated as a big man at the Portsmouth Invitational a month before that, setting a record for field goal percentage at the 56 year-old tournament.
At the PIT, Hines finished the three-day tournament shooting 22-of-28 from the floor for 78.6 percent, the best shooting percentage in the history of the 56-year tournament. He eclipsed the previous mark of 76.5 percent in 2004 by Xavier’s Justin Cage (13-for-17). Hines’ 17.3 ppg scoring average was best on his team and fourth overall among the 64 players at the PIT. His 10 blocked shots was tied for the most at the tournament this season, equaling the total of Drexel’s Frank Elegar, and just one shy of the tournament record. He also averaged 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals, which was tied for third-best during the three days.
Thus far in Las Vegas, Hines has been the first or second player off the bench in each of Charlotte's three games. He is third on the team in scoring at 8.3 ppg, despite only playing 34 minutes in the three contests. He scored 14 points in Charlotte's 99-93 loss to Golden State on Tuesday night, playing just under 19 minutes in the game.
"I'm living the dream," Hines told the Camden (NJ) Courier Post. "From where I came from, just to have the opportunity to get coached by a Hall of Fame coach (Larry Brown) and walk around with NBA players and compete against NBA players . . . it's unreal.
"I went out and played well," said Hines. "We had mini-camp all week and I got a lot of good feedback. I think my chances are good (of making the team). The good part about the summer league is that you're not just seen by one team, but all 32. That's definitely a situation that will help.
"I just have to keep doing the things I've done throughout my career -- playing hard, playing a role, setting hard screens, rebounding, blocking shots, hard defense. Coach Brown is more defensive-minded and wants someone to play right. If I do what he asks, execute plays and finish, I have a good opportunity to fit with this team."
- UNCG -