Hite a Constant Positive

University of Miami shooting guard Robert Hite is in his last go round, one that's seen peaks and valleys, but overall been a rather disappointment in his career as a Hurricane. But the disappointment has not been his as Hite has been the loan positive constant over the past three years.

Rather, the disappointment was the final outcome of each season as Hite has been a part of a program that's struggled throughout his career through no fault of his own.

But with last year's surprise 16-13 season in the ‘Canes first season as a member of the ACC and the core of last year's team returning, only promise could be foreseen by Hite and his teammates.

However, through 12 games, the disappointment that had permeated the Hurricanes program the two years prior to Frank Haith taking over the helm as head coach last year, has returned as the team is sitting at 7-5, something that this team couldn't have possibly fathomed.

Unlike last year when no one expected anything from the ‘Canes, this team that's full of expectations has been unable to close games out like it was able to do early in the season last year. Wins over Florida and UMass in non-conference play capped a 9-3 start.

To this point, the ‘Canes have dropped close games to Florida, Air Force, Temple and North Carolina State with a chance to win all of them down the stretch only to fall apart.

Hite, one of the few seniors on this year's team, makes no excuses for his squad's lack of execution down the stretch in tight games.

"Last year we just found a way at the end of games to come out on top," Hite said. "We had some injuries, but now we've got everyone back now. We have to continue to work hard and take it one game at a time."

With Anthony Harris returning from a foot injury that kept him out of the first seven games, the trio of guards that led Miami to its success last year is back together although it still has not found the chemistry it had last year.

The chemistry better come fast, but more so, the players have to trust each other down the stretch in tight games.

"The biggest thing for us is we have to trust our teammates, trust what we do late in games, trust that what we do early in games will work late in games," Haith said. We can't get out of kilter. We've gotten too much one-on-one oriented late in games. We have to trust throughout the game."

But for Hite, frustration has grown because although he's played well averaging 15.1 points per game, his scoring has gone down a couple of points of game, mostly because he's been hit with some foul trouble in games of late.

That continued to be the case against Stetson Tuesday night as he scored the first nine points of the game for Miami, but only had ten points at halftime because he picked up two quick fouls early.

That was also the case against Florida where he finished with 12 points, but the senior only played 17 minutes.

"It's been very frustrating," Hite said. "I get into a rhythm and then get two quick fouls, but I have to keep being aggressive, but be smarter."

And although Hite has been overall pleased with his individual play, he still sees plenty of room for improvement, however, his goals are not individually oriented; they are team oriented.

"I think I've played pretty solid this season," Hite said. "I need to pick it up though and make plays offensively and keep up my defensive intensity."

Hite does see the window for big non-conference wins shrinking, in fact, there is only one chance left for a big non-conference win. That's Saturday against No. 10 Louisville at the Office Depot Center.

And while Hite doesn't want to put a premium on the game with the numerous tough ACC opponents awaiting, he sees a great chance to make a splash and get a needed big time non-conference win as the team has already dropped three winnable non-conference games.

"This is big for us, playing a top ten team," Hite said. "It's a great opportunity for us to come out for us to prove we are a good team and get our season back on the right track."

Hopefully, it will turn disappointment into smiles that carry over throughout the rest of the season.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat is a Staff Writer with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at rudy@canestime.com

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