Olympiacos advanced to its third Euroleague Final Four in the past four seasons by beating Italy's Montepaschi Siena 76-69 to secure a 3-1 series victory, with Kyle Hines going for 19 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Kyle Hines has heard it all before.
He's not big enough to bang down in the paint with the big boys.
He's too undersized to be a center.
Are you sure you're not a guard?
That's the same talk that's followed Hines from high school in South Jersey, during college down in North Carolina and every stop along the way overseas since turning pro.
But after collecting the Finals MVP trophy last season in Germany with Bamberg beating Alba Berlin and now pushing Olympiacos into the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four this past week, Hines is forcing the naysayers to take that noise elsewhere.
Consider it another blocked shot.
The whole "undersized" argument holds absolutely no weight. Instead, Hines proudly pushes his weight around at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds and is easily the shortest center in the Euroleague.
Once the Final Four is all said and done in May, however, people just might be calling Hines a Finals MVP all over again.
Olympiacos advanced to its third Euroleague Final Four in the past four seasons by beating Italy's Montepaschi Siena 76-69 to secure a 3-1 series victory, with Hines going for 19 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Swat. Swat. Swat. Swat.
"It's kind of funny, but when people who don't know me ask me what position I play, and I answered ‘center', the look on their faces is pretty crazy, because they assumed I would say "guard"," Hines said earlier this season.
"I am by far the shortest center or forward on our team. There may be a couple of guards, even, who are taller than me. In our team picture, which is organized in order by height, I was in the first row with all the guards. My height as a center is always the main topic in every interview I do. At first it was annoying, because I didn't think of it as anything unusual, but now I have kind of embraced it."
This is Hines' first experience participating in the Euroleague Playoffs, an accomplishment he's strived for since arriving to play basketball in Europe after going undrafted in 2008 out of the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
Hines left behind an impressive college career at UNCG as the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder and is one of only six players in NCAA history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 blocks in a career, joining Alonzo Mourning, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Pervis Ellison and Derrick Coleman on the esteemed list.
And then there is Kyle Hines.
In the land of giants, the "undersized" Hines stands taller than the rest.
After signing and playing two seasons with Veroli, Italy in the country's second division, Hines made the jump to Brose Baskets Bamberg in Germany's Beko BBL in 2010 and didn't disappoint averaging 12.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Yet Hines saved his best for last. He helped Bamberg repeat as BBL champions and was named the German Championship Finals MVP last season.
Unfortunately for Bamberg, they were unable to retain Hines who signed in Greece last summer. It was simply an offer he couldn't refuse.
"It has always been a goal of mine to play a for an elite club since I've been in Europe. When the opportunity arose for me to become a member of the Olympiacos Basketball Club, for me it was a no-brainer."
On the season, Hines averaged 10.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in 20 Euroleague games, and 8.4 points, 4 rebounds and 1 block in 22 Greek League games.
Now after pushing Olympiacos into the Final Four, is another Finals MVP performance in Hines' future? If he plays like he did in the last game against Sienna, it's his for the taking. Olympiacos will face FC Barcelona Regal in the semifinals on May 11 in Istanbul, Turkey.
And Hines will be there ready to work and block some shots too -- all 6-foot-6 of him.