The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Realest In The Game: Robert Hinton and Trent Perry

Senior guards Robert Hinton ’24 and Trent Perry ’24 reflect on their basketball journey at the school together, with a chance to win back-to-back state titles this season.
Darlene Bible
Senior guards Robert Hinton ’24 and Trent Perry ’24 pose at the 2023 Mission League Media Day.

As guard Trent Perry ’24 got into his defensive stance, he held a fixed gaze in the eyes of the opposing team’s point guard. Even while Perry heard the intense communication of his teammates behind him, he stayed focused on the player dribbling the ball in front of him. The point guard drove left with a crossover, trying to get past Perry— however, he wasn’t quick enough. Perry poked the ball loose with ease, quickly regaining possession of the ball as he sprinted down the court. As a defender arrived at Perry in an attempt to slow down the Wolverines’ fast break, Perry knew exactly what was about to happen. After throwing the same bounce pass that he had made for seven years, Perry stood and watched as guard Robert Hinton ’24 elevated, brought the ball back and shook the rim. The crowd erupted with cheer, as Perry and Hinton celebrated on their way back to defense.

Perry said he and Hinton have developed a strong in-game connection over many years playing together.

“In high school, the chemistry was instant,” Perry said. “In middle school, it was tough because Robert was still trying to get his buckets. But when it came to high school, I quickly adapted to Robert’s game. In transition, I always try to find Robert because he’s a great finisher, and whenever Robert has the ball, I try to run down the court because I know he’s going to find me. In high school, we clicked for sure.”

Senior guards Trent Perry ’24 and Robert Hinton ’24 pose with the Delphic League Championship trophy Feb. 13, 2020.

Perry and Hinton both enrolled at the school in 7th grade, where they played on the middle school boys’ basketball team, winning back-to-back Delphic League championships in 2019 and 2020. Perry said he was able to easily become close friends with Hinton the moment they met each other.

“With me and Robert, we knew even before the season started in middle school that we were best friends,” Perry said. “We constantly talked about how we were going to kill middle school [basketball], and everything like that. From middle school to high school, we still kept the same bond, and it even grew from there.”

Hinton said playing basketball at a young age can be very challenging due to the prospects of recruiting.

“Basketball is very competitive in California starting from a very, very young age,” Hinton said. “Trent and I never played on the same team until we were in seventh grade at Harvard-Westlake, but we played in countless national ranking camps since we were really young.”

Perry and Hinton are currently ranked third and tenth respectively among California’s top recruits in the class of 2024, according to ESPN’s recruiting database. Perry is also currently ranked as the best point guard in California, and 42nd among all high school recruits in the United States. Hinton said the two have expected the media attention that they have received for a long time.

“I think Trent and I don’t get caught up in the [media attention] because we saw it coming,” Hinton said. “Obviously, now we’re ranked as four-star players, and we’re committed to our dream schools, but these are all things that we’ve been talking about since seventh grade, and even back then, it seemed so far down the path. I was like, ‘Trent, we need to do this. We need to do that together. We need to play at the [Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) Peach Jam] together.’ And it all happened, so it’s not like it fell out of the sky. It’s something that we worked for and have been aiming for. Now that [the media attention] is happening, I don’t feel like it has a huge effect on us because we’ve been knowing that we’ve wanted to get to this spot for a long time.”

Perry said the two have endured several hardships and struggles to achieve their current level of success.

“I think I can speak for me and Robert when I say that our first two years of high school weren’t the prettiest,” Perry said. “We had high expectations of playing right away and playing a lot of big minutes, and [Basketball Program Head David Rebibo] did a good job of giving us a reality check that we still had a lot of work to do. Of course, when we waited our time and we got the minutes we wanted in our junior year, we still lost a couple of games. We had a loss in the championship game of [the Damien Classic] to Liberty High School. We also lost to Corona Centennial and St. John Bosco to win the [California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section (CIF-SS) Open Division Championship]. Staying resilient and always pushing through adversity really helped us to get us to this point.”

Rebibo said Perry and Hinton were ultimately able to find their true identities by learning from older players in the program.

“When Trent and Robert came into the program, they were great workers,” Rebibo said. “They had expectations. They wanted to be great. But then they had to learn how to work and slowly learn from people like [Cameron Thrower ’22, Adam Hinton ’21, Brady Dunlap ’23, Jacob Huggins ’23 and Landon Lewis ’22]. As time went on, they developed their own work ethic, and they developed their own approach to try and get better. Seeing them better themselves every year has been really cool. They’re open to growth, they’re open to constructive criticism and they don’t shy away from it. They’re always eager to get better and learn. That was the standard that was set by the older guys, and now they’re doing that same thing. Our program is designed to help give you everything you need to improve.”

Perry said he and Hinton aspire to be positive yet critical leaders for the team as seniors.

“We’re always trying to encourage people and guide them the right way because with us being seniors, we know what Rebibo wants and what the system is like,” Perry said. “We always talk them through things and their mistakes. In my opinion, if they were at any school, they would have been the star players on the team. Harvard-Westlake is so special because everybody here could have been the [best player] somewhere else, but everybody just wants to win here.”

Throughout the program’s history, very few players have transferred after ninth grade to play basketball at the school, the last player being Brady Dunlap ’23 who came in tenth grade. Hinton said being able to win without transfers requires players in the program to have confidence in their development.

“Players in our program need to trust the process,” Hinton said. “I feel like [trusting the process] is a huge thing at Harvard-Westlake because there aren’t transfers coming in senior year and taking the torch. Trent and I didn’t get a lot of on-court minutes until junior year, which was only [a] season ago. We trusted the process, we let the coaches teach us, and by keeping our heads down and working hard throughout our years of high school, it finally paid off.”

Senior guards Trent Perry ’24 and Robert Hinton ’24 play in a game of the Nike EYBL Extravaganza at Mater Dei High School on Jan. 28.

In the previous season, the team won their first California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Open Division championship in school history, defeating St. Joseph-Santa Maria High School 76-65 on March 11. This season, the Wolverines are currently undefeated with a record of 9-0 and are currently ranked as the best high school team in California according to MaxPreps. Perry said winning a second consecutive title will naturally result from an approach to win every game possible.

“I would want our legacy to be known as winners,” Perry said. “That is the most important thing. Winning back-to-back titles is even better than winning one. But an even bigger goal is just having zero losses this year. We had two losses last year, which were both games that we thought we definitely could’ve won. Even though we won the state championship, Rebibo always reminds us that we didn’t win everything. Winning every single game this season is what’s on my mind.”

Next year, Perry will play Division I men’s basketball at the University of Southern California (USC), and Hinton will play Division I men’s basketball at Harvard University. Rebibo said both players are highly prepared to compete at the collegiate level.

“I think they’re both going to be well equipped for the college game,” Rebibo said. “They know the daily rigors of understanding the training room, the weight room, the expectations, the management of your body, eating appropriately, working out, practicing, going to class and doing the things that are vital to their success. All of our seniors are going to be more equipped to understand the new environment, the new program, the new type of system and how to collaborate with new teammates. Trent and Robert are some of the greatest human beings that I’ve had the pleasure of coaching. I think they are going to be just fine, and I expect them to have great careers.”

Perry said his ultimate goal is to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

“I’ve been dreaming about going to the league ever since I touched the basketball,” Perry said. “That’s the thing that drives me. Of course, I’m always going to stay in the present and try to win all the games that I can in high school, and even in college when I step foot there, but the league is what drives me. I want to go to the league, and I’m working my best and working my hardest to pursue that goal.”

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Justin Tang, Assistant Sports Editor

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  • S

    Seth ShapiroDec 13, 2023 at 8:49 pm

    Great article! Well done.

  • R

    Robert F. HintonDec 13, 2023 at 2:27 pm

    Robert and Trent’s 7th and 8th grade teams not only win back-to-back titles, they were undefeated for two years straight! Quite a remarkable feat and team! All of those players are now seniors! Wow! -Bob Hinton, Proud Papa