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Hinrich Keeps Raising the Bar

Kirk Hinrich at the Berto Center Hinrich’s frame now has an additional five pounds of muscle on it thanks to regular sessions in the weight room.
July 29, 2005—In a league plagued with terms like “potential” and “upside,” it sure is refreshing to come across a guy who’s actually doing everything he can to become the best player than he can be. But that’s just the way it is for Kirk Hinrich, the young veteran guard preparing for his third NBA season.

Hinrich sat down with Bulls.com after his workout at the Berto Center on Thursday to discuss his offseason workouts, tasting the postseason and the team’s core group of players.

You seem to be spending a lot of time in the weight room. How’s your offseason going?
Kirk Hinrich: It’s been good. Basically with my weights and conditioning, I just want to come in and get stronger and gain some weight. It’s got to be good weight, though—I’m trying to keep my body fat the same. I want to get better and these are the kinds of things that will definitely help me become a better player.

Editor’s Note: Hinrich has gained just over five pounds of muscle this offseason, checking in at a fit 196 pounds. According to Bulls’ Strength and Conditioning Coach Erik Helland, he’s also added some significant lower body strength as he focuses on increasing his speed and explosive power.

What’s a typical workout session like for you?
Hinrich: I usually get to the Berto Center anywhere from 9 to 10:30. I start with my weight workout and that usually takes an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. It’s a lot of weights, both upper and lower body, then some running and speed work, and then I usually get on the court for anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Sometimes it’s longer than that. I’m trying to groove my shot and work on a few things that I want to improve on.

Have your workouts changed much over the years?
Hinrich: Honestly, I did a lot of the same things I do now in college. I played a lot more pick-up [basketball] then than I do now, but that was because we had a whole team of guys around all summer. All in all, though, it’s the same; just a matter of getting my work done on the court and in the weight room and trying to improve in all aspects.

Are there certain areas of your game that you’re focusing on this summer?
Hinrich: Just shooting the ball. I want to get my field goal percentage a lot higher, but I really want to get better at everything I do. I still have a lot of room to improve and I think that I can do better out there on the court.

Editor’s Note: Hinrich improved his overall field-goal percentage from his rookie year to his second season (.386 to .397) but his three-point accuracy slipped slightly (.390 to .355).

Have you been busy with any basketball camps?
Hinrich: No, I’m not running any camps this summer. That’s something I eventually want to do, but as for my first couple of years in the league, I just want to get myself established and really concentrate on my workouts and getting better as a player before I start doing camps and stuff like that. I was back at KU for three or four days at a camp and there were a lot of guys back. But so much has changed there—new coaches and a new athletic director—so I hardly know anybody there and it’s a lot different.

Kirk Hinrich with Erik Helland Strength and Conditioning Coach Erik Helland oversees Hinrich running sprints on a hill near the team’s practice facility.
Are you finding any time for a break?
Hinrich: Oh yeah, I took a vacation to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico right when the season was over, and that was awesome. I really enjoyed it. But for right now, I’m in the city most of the time. I’m going to go back home [to Sioux City, Iowa] in August to see my grandparents, my folks, my family and friends. I love hanging out in Chicago during the summer, though. There’s a lot of stuff to do, the weather’s been great, and I get to work out [at the Berto Center] for free. I don’t have to spend a lot of money to work out in the summer like a lot of pros do.

As a rookie, you were on a Bulls team that struggled before turning things around in your second season in an improbable run to the NBA Playoffs. What do you attribute that turnaround to?
Hinrich: The biggest thing is that we’ve got guys in here who have great attitudes. They work really hard and they go along with what the coaches want us to do. I think that’s about it. We have a lot of young guys so it took us awhile to get going at the start of the year. Other than Eddy, Tyson and Antonio, there weren’t too many of us who had even played together before or with most of the rest of the guys. So it took time to get used to each other and it took time to get used to the coaching staff. Luckily enough we stuck with it, and to our credit, we had a pretty good year.

How rewarding was it to come full circle and reach the postseason?
Hinrich: It was definitely rewarding, but it was also bittersweet because I feel like we should have won that series with Washington. We kind of gave it to them and it ended on a real bad note. But hopefully that bad taste in our mouths and the experience we got will help us this year.

Is it too early to think about expectations for the upcoming season?
Hinrich: I think it is. We haven’t even set a roster yet, but we’ll definitely shoot for the playoffs again and look to improve from last year. Those are definitely going to be goals of ours, but we have to see what happens. We don’t even know who exactly will be on the team.

What can you say about some of the core guys who you know will be back like Ben Gordon and Luol Deng?
Hinrich: It’s great to have teammates like them who want to work and get better. It’s a sign of a team that has the potential to be good, especially when you see how many young players we have and how hard they work. We know guys like Luol [Deng], Noce [Andrés Nocioni] and Ben [Gordon] are all going to come in and work and there are a lot of guys on this team you can say that about. Tyson [Chandler] is a high energy guy who you can throw into that category, too. We’ve got a good group of guys who work hard and it's fun to be around each other. I’m ready to get going again. It’s been kind of a long offseason and I’m enjoying it while getting my rest, but I’m ready to go again.

Interview and photos by Adam Fluck

Other Offseason Features: Deng Expects to Be Ready for Training Camp | Gordon Aiming For Consistency