Hite emerges as leader for ‘Canes

Junior Robert Hite will be playing a role he is very familiar with this season.

While attending Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hite became the leader of his team and a player that teammates could look up to. This season will be no different for 6’2″ guard.

“I probably have the most experience on this team, and the players look up to me because of that,” Hite said. “I’m ready to take the role head on.”

After having a vocal leader for his first two seasons in Darius Rice, Hite is the obvious choice when looking up and down the roster at who is capable of stepping into Rice’s big shoes. Hite proved last season that he can lead a team, averaging 15.2 points per game last season, and showed why his nickname is Flight, wowing the Convocation Center crowd with his 39-inch vertical leap.

Out of high school, Hite was looking at many schools, but Miami stuck out not just for the sights and sounds that draw so many students to South Florida, but for the coaching staff in particular. Hite passed up on hometown Xavier, Cincinnati, Georgetown and Dayton, primarily because he would be able to contribute right away.

To Hite, the firing of former Head Coach Perry Clark came as quite a shock. But after keeping a positive mindset, he is glad he stuck it out here at Miami.

“I was shocked because it was spur of the moment,” Hite said. “They brought in Coach Haith, and everything’s going well now.”

New Head Coach Frank Haith also knows that Hite will have to carry the Hurricanes on his shoulders if they expect to compete in the ACC. The ‘Canes have been picked to be the doormat of the conference by many publications, but Hite and the rest of the Hurricanes know that they are capable of competing with the best in the land.

“We just want to go out there and prove people wrong,” Hite said. “We want to go out and compete every night, and do what we have to do to get wins.”

As far as differences between the two coaches, Hite believes that Haith is more of a hands-on type of coach, while Clark was more laid back. But in terms of similarities, the two coaches both like to move the ball up and down the court the same way.

Haith has come in and installed a mindset that Miami can play with the best teams in the nation once they find its identity. Hite has lofty goals when it comes to what a good season would be for this team. Keep in mind, the team failed to make its own conference tournament a year ago.

“A good season would be to make it to the NCAA tournament,” Hite said.

The Hurricanes will rely on Hite to make up points lost by one of the greatest players in team history. It may be a lot to ask from Hite, but for a team whose fans are only asking them to be competitive in ballgames, basketball has a chance to be real fun again in Coral Gables.

Douglas C. Kroll can be contacted at d.kroll@umiami.edu.