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December 2007

Hoops haven

Only three games into his senior season, Kyle Hines surpassed Jay Joseph's school mark for career scoring — giving students something extra to applaud.

Men's basketball is generating a buzz on campus. The team opened the season on the road by beating Georgia Tech — the Spartans' first win over an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent. Kyle Hines led the scoring with 25 points.

At UNCG, students can take a break from studying and walk to Fleming Gym from any point on campus in less than five minutes. The pre-season scrimmage — their first chance to see this year's squad in action — meant free pizza to everyone who came. Students grabbed a slice, got a great seat and checked out what the off-season work meant for the team.

For Kyle Hines, a communications studies major who is now the school's all-time record scorer, off-season entailed working on his size so he can compete down low with the other power forwards. It also meant improving his perimeter game — he shot 300-500 jump shots a day, with a summer workout regimen that began around dawn and got him into peak physical condition. His abilities (and not just his size) have been turning heads.

When you talk with him, he doesn't speak much about personal goals or achievements. He emphasizes what the team can accomplish. As he says on his blog at the NCAA's Double-A Zone, “Even though I'm very proud of all those accomplishments … I would trade all those honors for the one thing that really matters — a Southern Conference Championship.”

The Southern Conference coaches seem to like the team's chances this year. They predicted UNCG will finish atop the Southern Conference's North division. They picked Kyle Hines as the pre-season player of the year.

While students at some universities hope for a seat in the rafters and rely on large video screens to follow the action, Fleming Gym offers a great seat for everyone. Still, if it's a big game, the students know to arrive early. In February, the two teams picked to lead their divisions, Davidson and UNCG, will play each other twice within a week's time. The game at Davidson will be nationally televised on ESPN2. The week before, Davidson comes to the “friendly confines” of Fleming Gym.

This is proving to be quite a season to experience — up-close and personal.

Read the latest on the men's basketball team, including Kyle Hines.




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