Sicklerville, New Jersey is a small town about 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia. In the summer you can find 6’6″ 260 pound Tyler Hines in Timber Creek High school gym, surrounded by kids, showing them the proper way to do a drill, or telling them to do it again. You can hear the sneakers squeak on the floor as Coach Tyler and others yell from the sidelines during a scrimmage calling out plays. At the end of the day, the kids surround Tyler, Kyle, and other coaches for a recap and small speech about what they accomplished that day, and what they can accomplish in the future. After the talk, the players and coaches bring it in, raise their hands up together, and on 3 “Team Hines” rings throughout the gym.
In 2011 Team Hines Basketball Academy was founded by Tyler’s brother, four-time Euro League champion Kyle Hines, and current Timber Creek High School head coach Rich Bolds. Kyle made his name at Timber Creek HS as an all-state basketball player, who went on to play four years at UNC-Greensboro, and eventually to win Euro League Championships with Olympiakos and CSKA Moscow.
Team Hines Basketball Academy is a boys AAU team aimed at the development of student-athletes so that they can reach their full potential both on and off the court. Off the court is a major focus for the program especially. Team Hines has seen kids grow and go on to great things after high school at the collegiate level, including recently named NAIA First Team All American Randy Bell. An incredible accomplishment for a player who came up through their program. An achievement that any AAU program would brag about but if you were to ask Kyle or Tyler, I’d be willing to bet they are more proud of the man Randy became than the player.
Just a Kid From Sicklerville
Tyler who is 4 years younger than his brother Kyle, was no walkover in basketball either. He was a 4-year player and graduate from the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore and has seen his own time playing professionally overseas in Greece and Germany. Although, Tyler may have not made a lifetime career out of playing basketball, what he does has a much greater impact at home, in our community.
Tyler embraced his role back home and in the community, not only as a Team Hines coach but also as a mentor. If you can’t find Tyler on the court teaching the game, you can find him in a school talking to kids about their future, or speaking at one his mentoring meetings, where he talks to kids about their futures and who they want to be when they get older. In his third ever meeting he did exercises with the kids in order to make them ponder the value of their reputations and the kind of person they want to be known for.
In today’s world kids can very easily be brought down and have their confidence crushed especially kids in high-risk situations, Tyler has dedicated part of his life to the youth of the Sicklerville and surrounding communities to instill the confidence, skills, and mindset to succeed in the world after high school. Whether, its dressing up in PJs to read to kids at a local elementary school, speaking to kids at a community outreach program, or bringing guest speakers like the Mayor to talk to his kids, Tyler has unselfishly made it his goal to provide the knowledge needed to kids so they can be the next “just a kid from Sicklerville”.
Team Hines Gives Back
Beyond just basketball and life knowledge, Kyle, Tyler, and Team Hines have found ways of time and time again to give back to the community they grew up in as well as the surrounding areas. Just recently Winslow Twp Municipal Board approved the construction of the Team Hines Community Basketball Court at a sports complex in Sicklerville New Jersey. The court will aim to give kids a safe place to learn and play the game of basketball that both Kyle and Tyler grew up loving.
In his post, Kyle says that this is his and Tyler’s proudest accomplishment, and while it may be, it certainly isn’t their only accomplishment. Time and time again the Hines brothers along with Team Hines have stepped and used their abilities and platform for the greater good. Scroll through either one of theirs or Team Hines Facebook pages and you can see post after post of a charity event they hosted, a coat drive they organized, or getting a group together and doing a breast cancer walk. At times they were even able to use their connections and teamed up with Adidas to give out shoes and book bags to kids in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia. Team Hines has always found a way to give back.
I was fortunate enough to sit down with Tyler Hines of Team Hines, to talk to him and ask him some questions about what he and Kyle have been able to achieve both on the court and off.
Me : Tyler, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me, and I can say how much I admire what you do in the community but I’d like to start with a few basketball questions. Obviously, from high school to college and overseas you’ve played a lot of basketball, what’s your biggest accomplishment on the court?
Tyler : Definitely winning the first championship with Timber Creek Hs, not only because it was the first-ever but because I’ve been close with the older kids, like Kyle and you, and I felt like we won it not just for us but for you guys too.
Me: Awesome, growing up playing with your brother when did you guys realize you were going to be really really good?
Tyler: There was never really a set time, but we always had the confidence and work ethic to become great. Our dad would always push us, whether it was working out (he had that football mentality) or on drills. No matter what we did when we did it he would push us more if we hit 10 shots in a row, he made us hit 20. We had the work ethic and confidence to succeed.
Me: Who wins 1v1?
Tyler: Me haha
Me: Ok, more serious now, when did you realize that you wanted to mentor kids and when did you realize that you had the ability to do it?
Tyler: Most people do not know this about me, but when I was in 8th grade I didn’t play because of my grades. There were some things going on at home, and I took it a lot harder than my brother or sister, and a teacher at Mullen Middle School, Frank Latierzo helped me. He would stay at school till 5 each night and make sure I was ok, and I realized that I wanted to do for kids what he did for me. I think I realized it in my second year in Germany, I was getting calls from kids asking for advice, and then I would see those kids doing what I told them, so I think I realized it then.
Me: What, in your own words, is the goal of the “just a kid from Sicklerville mentoring meetings”?
Tyler: To help as many kids as possible. I am big on legacy, and by the legacy I mean what I leave behind when I’m not on this earth anymore. We want to have a lasting impact even after we are no longer around. We want to instill a foundation and give them the self-confidence to achieve greatness.
Me: I didn’t include this in the story but what is “bridge the gap” mentoring program?
Tyler: Bridge the Gap is a program where I am actually working with different schools in the area, I have a contract with Black Horse Pike Regional School District where I am talking 5 days a week, going from school to school and mentoring kids. We want to help kids, who may be in high-risk situations or even just in general, how to “bridge the gap” from elementary school to middle to high school to college and beyond. We teach things that aren’t on the regular curriculum like how to save money, and how to do taxes and entrepreneurship.
Me: Do you want to say anything about your first mentor, Mr. Latierzo?
Tyler: My Latierzo was my first mentor. I use him as an ice breaker when I talked to kids. What really stood out to me, was that he wasn’t my teacher, he didn’t look like me, and he wasn’t a basketball coach. He was the first person that gave me a chance and made me feel important. The fact that there was this guy who wasn’t black and had nothing to do with basketball, really opened my eyes to how people can help. I talk about how life comes full circle, he took care of me but told me to pass what he did down to others. I was doing registration for a camp one summer and I saw Mr. Latierzo walk in with his son, and told me it’s time I did what he did for me for his son, so that was life coming full circle.
Me: What’s your ultimate goal between Team Hines and your mentoring program?
Tyler: Kyle and my main goal was always to give back to kids and our community, which is why the new basketball court is such a big deal for us. Growing up in our area most of the time we had to go to Philly to play, Camps, leagues, and practices in Philly so we wanted to bring that aspect of basketball to south jersey. And ultimately we want to prepare kids the best we can for the next level. One thing we are big on is not saying, that kid is there because of us, but just want to show kids they have the tools to do it. You wrote about Randy, when he came to us he was a chubby kid with a bad attitude. He took what we were able to teach him and excelled at it. We want kids to know that they are capable of achieving great things.
Me: If a family or a kid reads this and would like to get involved in Team Hines or a mentoring meeting how would they do so?
Tyler: anyone can go to http://www.teamhinesbasketball.com and there is contact information on there.
Me: Last question, who wins in a 1v1 Me or Ron? (Ron is a coach with Team Hines and a friend who we went to high school with)
Tyler: you, haha Ron def got better as he got older, but you always been a hooper so I’m saying you.
It was clear for Tyler and Kyle, that no matter where basketball would take them, they had the ultimate goal of giving back to the area they grew up in. And they’ve done that in a major way already, and have not and do not plan to stop. In fact, they are just getting started. When I talked to Tyler, he made it a point to mention legacy and what legacy means to them. Legacy, to them, is what we leave behind when we leave this earth, legacy doesn’t die, legacy is bigger than basketball. In their short time on this earth, Kyle, Tyler, Coach Bolds, and all the coaches and friends involved with Team Hines have already left a lasting legacy that will be passed down forever. I am inspired every day when I see what they are doing, and I am proud, not only to have people like them in my community but also that I can call my friends.
The Hines name will live on forever, not just as great basketball players but for being great leaders. Sicklerville and it’s surrounding areas are a better place because of them, now and forever.
To Follow Kyle, Tyler or team Hines on social media:
Twitter – Kyle (@sirhines) Tyler (@32tyHines) Team Hines (@teamhinesaau) Coach Bolds (@richardbolds)
Instagram – Kyle (@sirhines42) Tyler (@32tyHines) Team Hines (@teamhinesbasketball)
You can find them on Facebook Kyle Hines, Tyler Hines, Team Hines Basketball Academy
Go to http://www.teahinesbasketball.com for AAU and summer camp information