UNCG's Hidden Gem
AP: By Joedy McCreary
GREENSBORO, NC (AP) - He scores, he rebounds, he blocks shots, he blogs. There isn't much Kyle Hines doesn't do for UNC Greensboro.
The Spartans' undersized, underrecruited senior forward is on the verge of joining an exclusive club previously reserved for national champions and eventual NBA All-Stars.
He's moving closer to becoming just the sixth player with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 blocks in a career since the NCAA made blocks an official statistic in 1986. He would join David Robinson, Alonzo Mourning, Tim Duncan, Pervis Ellison and Derrick Coleman.
Not that Hines gets caught up with the attention he receives off the court - or the attention he draws on it, with opposing coaches double- and triple-teaming him.
"For me, individual attention doesn't really drive me. I'm more for attention for the entire team," Hines said. "I'm looking for more of the focus of, if we win games and we beat bigger opponents, beat opponents that we're not supposed to beat, then people are going to automatically look at us and possibly look at me, and the attention will come upon us that way."
In a basketball-crazed state where mid-majors seemingly knock off high-profile programs with regularity, Hines led UNC Greensboro to a statement victory of its own - a season-opening 83-74 upset of Georgia Tech - and now hopes a strong run through the Southern Conference will give his team another crack at a big-name school and the third NCAA tournament appearance in school history.
"He's been a big force for UNC Greensboro from the day he got here, in terms of having a chance to be competitive in just about every game," coach Mike Dement said. "He's powerful, he draws so much attention defensively - it's almost unfair how much attention he draws defensively, because he's always getting double-teamed and triple-teamed."
Hines already has set UNC Greensboro's career records for scoring and blocking shots, and has 1,730 points, 845 rebounds and 280 blocks. The defending Southern Conference player of the year has led the Spartans in scoring in more than half of the 97 games he has played, and has reached double figures in a Division I-best 58 straight games.
"Right now, it's not really surprising, because I really haven't taken it all in yet,'' Hines said. "I look at it still as kind of a work in progress. Much (further) down the line, it's something I'll appreciate more. Right now, I'm so focused on this season and winning a championship that I haven't really looked at and appreciated a lot of (the numbers)."
The numbers are surprising because the 6-foot-6 forward slid under the recruiting radar while coming out of high school in southern New Jersey. He did manage to catch the eye of then-coach Fran McCaffrey, who brought him to Greensboro in 2004, and when McCaffrey left for Siena the following season, Dement returned for a second stint at UNC Greensboro and discovered he had inherited a gem.
Hines was "kind of too small of a power forward to get recruited by the Atlantic-10 or the Big East," Dement said. "The irony of it is, (his) numbers against those type of schools are tremendous. ... I'm sure there's a lot of folks up there in the northeast who have watched tapes of him, or watched him progress, and wished they had recruited him."
Some of his best games have come against teams from the power conferences - he had 25 against Georgia Tech, 20 last year at Penn State, 27 at N.C. State and 20 as a sophomore against Duke.
"He's played with a little bit of a purpose to show folks over the years that they missed on him a little bit, and that's been to our benefit that he's played so well and had such a good career," Dement said.
Hines is just as well-rounded away from the court as he is on it. The communications major is writing weekly blogs on an NCAA Web site, offering candidly frank assessments of his team and the sport.
Now he wants to close his career with the kind of pizazz that will give him, and others, plenty to write about.
"I'm 110 percent sure we could be an (NCAA) tournament team," Hines said. "We have the complete package ... and we know if we go out and execute on the floor, we know that we can beat anybody."
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