Hite Looking to Make Heat Roster

Robert Hite could be just what the Miami Heat needs on next year's roster to possibly keep the Heat as the NBA Champions for a second straight year. Hite, a 6-foot-2 guard, is a solid shooter and possesses good athleticism.

It might sound crazy, but even in winning a championship the Miami Heat had holes in its armor. The main hole was the simple reality that this team couldn't shoot from the outside. There were some good days when Antoine Walker and Jason Williams hit a few threes now and again. Gary Payton dropped one in once in a while. And James Posey was good for a hot day every few games, but none is a prolific shooter that took advantage of the wide open looks that were created by Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade.

The team's best shooter, Jason Kapono barely sniffed the court because he couldn't guard anyone on a team that already had some serious problems defensively.

The he being referred to is former University of Miami shooting guard Robert Hite. Hite, who went undrafted, has been invited to compete on the Heat's summer league team and could actually fit a definite need of the Heat.

Although Miami will also be looking for a point guard during the offseason, Miami's clear area of need is someone who can knock down the open shot on a consistent basis whose name is not Wade.

Hite who averaged over 16 points per game as a senior and was named Team MVP following the conclusion of the season, shot 42% from three-point range and showed NBA-range throughout his college career, sinking shots from way beyond the college three-point line.

Although his chances of making the Heat's squad are slim, there are far from nil.

If Hite can drain shot from the outside, it might incline Pat Riley to invite Hite to camp in the fall with a chance of making the team. But Hite isn't just Tim Legler or Steve Kerr, he's a great athlete with a 44-inch vertical leap giving him the nickname "Flight". His ball handling was average at UM and he usually settled for a jumper before ever taking the ball to the basket, his role in the NBA will be to drain jump shots.

Hite is undersized to be a starting shooting guard. His handles are suspect to be a point. But if Damon Jones can play in this league and start for a 58-win Miami Heat team two years ago at point, there is no doubt that Hite can last a while in the NBA.

Jones, for what it's worth, can do one thing well. That's shoot the ball from three. That alone can keep a player making millions for quite some time, because Hite actually handles the ball far better than Jones.

And Hite will benefit from the exact same thing Jones benefited from is he is to make the team. Open shot after open shot because of Shaq and Flash.

Knock them down and he's a member of the Miami Heat come the start of the season in November.


Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat can be reached at rudy@canestime.com

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