Hite matures rapidly as sophomore, leads ‘Canes in scoring

The success of the men’s basketball team this year can be attributed primarily to the emergence of Robert Hite.

Hite, a sophomore guard, leads the team in scoring, averaging 17 points a game. He is also the only Hurricane to score in double figures in every single game this season.

This is a drastic improvement from last season, when Hite, as a freshman, showed some promise, but did not produce nearly as much, averaging just over seven points per game, placing him third on the Hurricanes in scoring. A huge difference in Hite’s game is that he is playing with more confidence and taking advantage of extra practice in the off-season.

“I’m more confident this year with my game,” Hite said. “I worked hard in the off-season to get better, so I didn’t want all that hard work to go to waste.”

Hite averaged over 19 points a game at Winton Woods High School and earned first team All-State honors as well as the 2002 Associated Press Ohio Player of the Year Award. It was in high school that Hite realized that he had a future in basketball.

“When I started on the varsity team in high school as a freshman, I realized I could get into it,” Hite said. “I also ran track which helped with my speed and flexibility.”

Hite’s goal coming into this season was to improve upon last year and help the Hurricanes win games. He has far exceeded his goal already and still has several games left to play.

“My goal was to produce more and help my team. We were missing James Jones so someone had to step up for him, and I have tried to do that,” Hite said.

The success of Hite comes as no surprise to his coach, Perry Clark, who knew that Hite had unlimited potential when he recruited him two years ago from Ohio.

“Robert Hite is capable of having big games,” Clark said. “He works hard and is a good shooter. We brought him here to do these things and it’s great to see him playing well.”

With Hite playing well, and freshman Guillermo Diaz producing, the ‘Canes have three legitimate scoring options, with Darius Rice still being the go-to guy. How the team’s leading scorer next season when Rice graduates. As for this year, Hite will only make Rice’s job easier.

“Hite will help Darius get good looks,” Clark said. “Now we have some other people that can score besides Darius.”

The best part about Hite’s breakout season is that he is only a sophomore, which means he will keep improving. By the time Hite is ready to graduate from the University of Miami, he could be one of the top players in college basketball.

“The strength of my game is that I can shoot and put the ball on the floor, so the defense doesn’t know what to expect,” Hite said. “I’m a hard worker, and I don’t give up easily, so when things get tough, I just work harder and keep going.”

Darren Grossman can be contacted at d.grossman@umiami.edu.