Robert Hite soars through the air with such grace that some people call him “Flight.” Standing at 6-2, the freshman guard has dazzled fans at the Convocation Center with high-flying dunks and alley-oops all season. However, Hite’s exciting style of play hasn’t helped the ‘Canes as much as Hite wished.
“I could have done a lot better,” Hite said. “I think I could have contributed more, but things went the way they went and there’s nothing I can do about it now.”
Despite Hite’s disappointment with his effort this season, he has provided 7.5 points per game, which ranks third on the team behind star forward Darius Rice and senior leader James Jones.
Head Coach Perry Clark had good things to say about Hite’s progress.
“I think Rob started off and gave us a really big boost,” Clark said. “I think he’s going to be an outstanding basketball player for us, and I just think he’s going through the adjustment that freshman go through in the Big East.”
The rookie adjustment that Clark mentioned has taken its toll on a struggling Miami team that features five freshmen. Even though Hite came out of high school ranked by CNNSI as the nation’s No. 50 recruit, he knew coming to Miami would involve a big adjustment in his game.
“It’s a totally different level,” Hite said. “The game is just a lot faster and you have to be able to recognize things faster.”
Hite, who came to Miami as the reigning Associated Press Ohio Player of the Year, started 18 of the first 19 games this season, but lost his spot after an overtime loss to Villanova on Feb. 8.
“Since he [Clark] took me out of the lineup, I’ve been playing more aggressive and trying to get my spot back,” Hite said.
Although Hite’s immediate goals include reclaiming his starting spot and helping the team win its last two games in order to reach the Big East Tournament, he has big plans for the future as well. Someday, Hite hopes to play in the NBA and own a business. However, Hite knows he has a lot of work to do before any of those dreams become a reality.
“I’m going to try to gain 10 more pounds of muscle in the off season,” Hite said. “I also need to work on my ball handling and my shooting, so my shot will be more consistent.”
Clark believes that Hite needs to work more on the mental aspect of his game more than the physical aspect.
“I don’t think Rob has the right mentality,” Clark said. “I think Rob can be a very dominant type player in this league. I don’t know if he sees himself like that day in and day out and sometimes he doesn’t assert himself.”
Nate Johnson can be reached at NPJ44@aol.com