Harvard-Westlake’s Robert Hinton gaining international fans among personal growth

STUDIO CITY — Nearly 2,300 people tuned into the live stream of the Mission League boys basketball final between Harvard-Westlake and Crespi on Friday night, and 58 of them were watching from Taiwan.

Harvard-Westlake’s Robert Hinton and his older brother, Adam, competed at the William Jones Cup Invitational in Tapei over the summer and gained a fanbase while growing from the experience.

“Seeing how much basketball’s loved around the whole country is just so amazing,” Hinton said. “And I’ve never had fans before. Having people that support me so much in one stadium, and it was amazing.”

The fans watching live from Taiwan saw Robert Hinton’s no-look pass to Christian Horry and his subsequent corner 3-pointer. They witnessed him score 19 points, his awareness to play in transition and make plays for himself as well as those around him, something Harvard-Westlake coach David Rebibo has urged him to do.

“He’s improved so much year to year,” Rebibo said. “His ability to get to the spots on the floor and get in the paint is second to none. But we challenge him now to make plays for others.”

The Wolverines went on to win on Friday night, as well, 72-54.

Hinton and his coach have an ongoing dialogue whenever the senior is on the bench, communicating mostly about fatigue and how his body is feeling. The talking continued on the court with his teammates, which Hinton says helped Harvard-Westlake beat Crespi for the team’s sixth straight Mission League title.

It’s something that’s been built over Hinton’s last four years with the Wolverines and helped resuscitate the Wolverines when their shooting temporarily went cold in the second quarter.

“We’ve been together as a team and as a family this whole season. And just making sure that we stay together and work hard, stay connected throughout these next few weeks is going to be key,” Hinton said.

The Wolverines had an unexpected opponent Friday night. The Celts secured a spot in the championship game by beating Sierra Canyon 64-61 in the semifinals after losing to the Trailblazers earlier in the season.

Hinton’s high standard of play was predictable, though, at least for Harvard-Westlake’s coaching staff.

“You know he is going to give you everything he has every single night,” Rebibo said. “And you know he is going to fight tooth and nail for his team, for this school and program.”

The commitment has been there even before Hinton secured a spot in the starting lineup his junior year. Harvard started to pursue him around the same time and was sought after by multiple high-level programs.

He stayed loyal to the process at Harvard-Westlake and eventually committed to Harvard. He will be following his brother, who plays at Cornell, to the Ivy League.

His fans in Taiwan are loyal to Hinton, too, as the world waits to watch what unfolds for him.

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