EuroLeague heavy Team Hines looking to become latest super team to be crowned champs


By: George Abunaw | @GTAbunaw14

Will Team Hines revolutionize the way TBT teams are constructed?

Super teams have become more common in sports recently, especially in basketball with the Warriors making its fifth straight NBA finals appearance.

In the TBT world, Overseas Elite has been dominant, winning the past four tournaments. As their name suggests, the team is made up entirely of players who play outside of America.  

 But, this summer a new super team made up of some of the best players the EuroLeague has ever seen will try to knock Overseas Elite off the top spot.

Team Hines, led by the trio of Kyle Hines (6x VTB United League Champion, 4x EuroLeague Champion, 2x, EuroLeague Defender of the Year), Mike James (2019 EuroLeague Top Scorer), and Nick Calathes (EuroLeague Champion and 2x All-EuroLeague First Team) is possibly the most decorated squad to ever compete in TBT. 

 “Once we got Kyle locked we went to Mike James who’s a close friend of mine, who said if Kyles playing, I’m in,” said Muhammad Smith, GM of Team Hines. “I then went to Nick Calathes, who said if Kyle and Mike are playing, I’m in.” 

 Though this is the first year Team Hines will be competing in TBT, the roots of the team began last year under the name HBC Sicklerville.  

 The team was built around Hines, who expressed interest in competing in TBT. Unfortunately, rehab on an injury meant he would only play if the team reached the Semifinals. Similarly, James and Calathes would only be available to join the team if they won their first two games and made it to the Super 16. 

 In stunning fashion, the 2-seed HBC Sicklerville lost its first game, 80-60, to 15-seed Talladega Knights, meaning the full complement of the team was never assembled. 

 “It was devastating to us and I feel like we took the loss last year to realize we want elite guys only,” said Smith. “Sometimes you've got to take a beating to wake up. That really humbled us.” 

 Rebranded as Team Hines, the team hit the recruiting trail hard and secured the services of top EuroLeague players such as Darrun Hilliard, Thomas Walkup, and Aaron White.

Team Hines will face stiff competition in the Greensboro Regional hosted by Team CP3, competing against the likes of Florida TNT and the Andre Drummond-coached Tampa 20/20

 “We wanted to get elite guys so anyone can get off the court, or even miss a game, and we don’t skip a beat,” said Smith. “That’s the team we wanted to build.” 

 Many of the players are making good money over in Europe but are still willing to make the sacrifices necessary to compete in TBT. 

 Nick Calathes is a star of the Greek National Team, and though he is due to report to training camp on July 28th for the FIBA World Cup, he is pushing his arrival back to compete in TBT.  Kyle Hines is a father of two and is giving up valuable family time during an (extremely) short offseason to play. 

 “It’s all for the love of the game and the passion for these guys,” said Smith. “TBT gives you a different feel, like a college basketball atmosphere, and the guys miss that. It gives guys that didn’t get a chance to make the tournament that kind of feel; advancing and putting that name on the board.” 

 With an elite group of players secured, the focus is now on playing good basketball and avoiding a repeat of last year’s embarrassing exit. The players will meet for training camp in Greensboro prior to TBT where they will hope to mesh all of their unique playing styles into a winning formula.  

 “Our goal is absolutely to win it, and (then) look to next year," said Smith. "We don’t want to break it up. Our goal is everyone else's goal for us - and everyone else is picking us to win it. So we don’t want to come up short.”