Nate Hinton recently announced he was entering the 2020 NBA Draft. He’s a 6-5, 210-pound guard who played for two seasons with the Houston Cougars. Having attended that school, I know it’s a fantastic program filled with a lot of history.
“I’m getting more and more excited as time goes by,” said Hinton. “I’m appreciative of the moment. Appreciative of the opportunity, and honestly, it’s a dream come true. A big weight will be coming off my shoulders.
“Culture is the one and most important thing that I take away from it. The Houston Cougar basketball program has a culture. It’s second to none. They recruit specific types of players, and they get guys who fit the culture, and they learn the culture, and take it to another level.”
When I was there, legendary coach, Guy Lewis was still there. He eventually retired in 1986. Elvin Hayes, Clyde Drexler, and Hakeem Olajuwon, were the three biggest names I would always hear people talk about, and I had a chance to see them all play. Hayes still goes to games and travels with the team, and Hinton loves to hear what he has to say.
“Elvin Hayes is always at the games,” Hinton replied. “He sometimes travels to away games as well. He’s one of the greats, and he’s always talking to me after the game. He talks about how he enjoyed seeing me playing and how much joy I bring to him. Playing the way that I play. Sometimes I just sit back and listen when he talks – he’s played at the highest level.”
Hinton has a ton of ability as a player, and his defense really stands out.
“A lot of people around the league can put the ball in the bucket, but you have to be able to guard and fit. I take pride in guarding…defense wins championships.”
One of his best traits on defense is he doesn’t give the opposing player a lot of room to operate.
“I don’t,” he chuckled. “I like my presence to be known and don’t let your foot off their neck. That’s how I was taught. Don’t let up. When I’m on the court, if we’re in a staring contest, somebody has to blink. I want to make sure I’m not the one who blinks first. Breathing room and letting someone get the upper hand on you, that’s just not in my nature.”
Hinton is aggressive and doesn’t give up much space on the floor defensively, and he’s a tough rebounder too.
“I don’t just want to play the game. I play to dominate the game,” Hinton stated. I play with that edge and that tenacity because everybody’s mindset and willpower are different.”
Turning offense into defense is a big deal in this game and that comes naturally to him.
“It’s always been in my nature, in my game. On offense, on a lot of nights it didn’t work out, my game never took off, I never had my best games when I focused on offense. When I focused on defense, and I wanted to shut down their players, that’s when their biggest scoring nights happened because I’m controlling the defensive end, and then on offense, I’m running back down your neck. It’s natural because my aggression comes out.”
He would love to play for the Rockets. He’s the kind of player who would embrace that. I’ll be curious to see where he goes. He had 20 zoom calls so there’s a lot of teams interested in him.
If this mock is right:
He would be a great fit in Philadelphia or any team for that matter. Let’s see where he ends up. His NBA story is just beginning.