Class of 2024 guard Robert Hinton of Harvard-Westlake School (CA) and Team WhyNot (CA) has committed to Harvard. Earlier this month, he took an official visit to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hinton is the first commitment in Tommy Amaker’s ‘24 recruiting class.
A 6’5” combo guard from Los Angeles, California, Hinton enters his junior season with state championship aspirations alongside a strong returning core of Brady Dunlap, Trent Perry, and Jacob Huggins. An invitee to the Pangos All-American Festival last month at McBride High School in Long Beach, California, the Harvard commit turned heads with his ability to space the floor, defend the perimeter, and leverage his downhill athleticism, which included a poster dunk at the rim. Helping Team Midwest to the Pangos AA Festival title amidst a high caliber group of players, Hinton chipped in 19 points (8/8 shooting), three rebounds, one block, and one steal in 23 minutes. The four-star prospect is primed to be an immediate impactful player in the Ivy League in 2024.
Pro Insight’s Conrad Chow spoke with the future Harvard guard.
Pro Insight: Thank you for joining us. First off, do you prefer to be called Rob or Robert?
Robert Hinton: Either. Everyone calls me Rob. My mom calls me Robert.
PI: You participated in the Kenny Smith Lead Guard Workout last month — what was the biggest takeaway for yourself?
RH: I feel like it's always good to see all of the great talent here, especially this summer, I've been able to play at a lot of events against people all around the country. Something I took from this camp, I'd say is probably the pick-and-roll series, because they showed a lot of different ways to get out of the pick-and-roll and gave a lot of good advice about it, so pick-and-roll, definitely.
PI: How did you get to where you are today? Talk a bit about your background and family.
RH: Yeah, so a big role model for me when I was growing up…I'm still growing up, obviously, but my brother, my older brother named Adam Hinton. He’s going to be playing at Cornell this year. He's going to be a freshman and I've always looked up to him and he's always been a great older brother for me, always helping me with workouts, helping me get better at the sport. And I even went to the same high school as him so I'm really following him, following him in his footsteps and that's my brother. And then my parents, my dad went to Princeton as an undergraduate and Harvard for law school and he played football his whole life so that's where sports comes from.
PI: Besides your brother and dad, any other athletes in the family?
RH: Yeah, one of my cousins from my dad's side is Rip Hamilton, Richard Hamilton. He used to play on the Pistons and I think he's pretty well known. So yeah, that's one of the athletes in our family.
PI: You also have a unique heritage and ethnic background — can you share a bit more on that?
RH: Yeah so my mom’s side is from Taiwan and China, so I'm half Chinese, half African American. A lot of my Asian side of my family is in California, so I'm always with them. Like even last weekend I was with them at some birthday party and I'm very close with my Asian side, so it's really good and I'm trying to become fluent in Chinese. I've been taking a lot of Chinese classes so hopefully soon I'll be able to have full on conversations in Chinese with everyone.
PI: Have you ever been back to Taiwan?
RH: Yeah, so all the way until I was twelve, we would go to Taiwan once or twice a year, but after the pandemic hit we haven't really been able to get out there 'cause there's a lot of quarantining and stuff so we don't really have the time, but hopefully soon I might be able to get out there and even see the national team 'cause they've been reaching out a lot, too.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
RH: Yeah, when I grew up, I would play football. I played football and baseball and I still play a little bit of golf, so yeah.
PI: What are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player?
RH: Short term goals for this year is definitely to win it all, have one of the best records in our school history and really get our redemption from the past years. I know that everyone on my team, it hurt a lot to see Corona Centennial raise the trophy for CIF Open Division last year. So we're all ready to get it back and we're working hard.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths and playstyle?
RH: I think one of the biggest things about my game is my motor, but I feel like I have really great handles. I'm really good at going downhill, very athletic. I'm an amazing offensive rebounder and I can really get after it on defense, too. So I feel like I can do everything and I've been working a lot on my shot and I feel like that's also becoming a really big thing in my game.
PI: Who do you model your game after or study on film?
RH: Well, when I was growing up, I always loved watching Michael Jordan’s game, but a lot of the current players I'd say would be Cade Cunningham and Melo Ball. I love their games.
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
RH: I'm actually very interested in becoming a lawyer, so I'll probably major in something that could help me become a lawyer. So for pre-law, but yeah, definitely being a lawyer.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
RH: I like doing puzzles, like Rubik's Cubes and stuff. I spend a lot of time doing stuff with that. I love watching anime, playing video games, and I throw a football with my dad a lot, too.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
RH: I’d say my favorite music artist is Drake.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
RH: I’d say I'm a game changer. That would be my hashtag — #gamechanger. I feel like I make big impacts on teams, big impacts on games and big impacts on people, so yeah.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
RH: I think my best piece of advice would be “be patient.” And even though everyone probably said that, my dad told me “be patient.” Even like I think six months ago, he probably told me “be patient.” And so much has changed in six months, I've gotten offers from my dream schools and I'm just so happy with where I'm at. And that all came from being patient and not rushing the process and just keep working.
PI: What is something that most people have no idea about you?
RH: I'd say that a lot of people don't know that I'm half Chinese unless they saw my parents, and also that I can speak Chinese. So I think that's something that not many people know about me.
PI: Besides the NBA, where do you see yourself in five years?
RH: In five years, if I wasn't in the NBA, I'd probably see myself somewhere in law school, studying hard, preparing to get my life ready (laughs).
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
RH: Motivated, strong, patient and smart.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
RH: On the court, I would want to be known as a hard worker because when it really comes down to it in any sport, the hardest worker is the best player. Anyone that puts the most work in can make the biggest impact on games. As a person, I’d want to be known as a charismatic person that can really brighten up anyone’s day and make anyone feel better and also affect other people's personalities and make everyone a better person. That's what I would want to be known as.
PI: When it came down to it — what were the most important factors in choosing your next step?
RH: I'm looking for a great school that will fit around me and be a great fit for me as a basketball player and as a student athlete, and I'm looking for a school that will make me a greater player and person and also, going to any Ivy League school can really change your life. It can open doors to a lot of opportunities outside of basketball. So that's what I'm looking for. So I'm really happy with where I'm going.
PI: Without further ado — where will you be committing?
RH: I will be committing to the admissions process of Harvard University for the class of 2028!
PI: Congratulations! What separated Harvard from the rest of your options?
RH: What separated Harvard and made it the school for me, was first, the coaching staff. Coach Amaker, Sotsky, Fraschilla, and Farmer, all are amazing coaches and people, and I could completely see myself playing for these guys in my future! I also love the culture of the program. Everyone on the team is so close and looks out for each other, and pushes each other to be better. Also, Harvard of course will not only turn me into an amazing person and player, but I will also be able to graduate college with one of the best degrees in the world.
PI: What was Coach Amaker and his staff’s reaction when you told them?
RH: When I told Coach Amaker and the staff that I will be committing to Harvard, their first reaction was huge smiles, and then they instantly told me and my parents “congratulations!” It was a very special moment and I will definitely never forget it.
PI: Have you been in touch with any former or current Harvard players?
RH: Yes I have! One of my brother’s best friends plays at Harvard and is a freshman there right now. His name is Chandler Pigge. Because of my brother, my family has gotten to know Chandler much better and so when I was up on my visit at Harvard, I was able to talk to Chandler a lot and even give him a call every once in a while!
PI: Lastly, do you have any message for the Harvard fans who are thrilled about your commitment?
RH: I want the Crimson fans to know that I am going to be incredibly proud to represent that school and that jersey!