Roman Catholic sophomore guard Hakim Hart (above) has given Roman a boost this season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)
Hakim Hart came to Roman Catholic this season with hopes of proving himself as an all-around player.
After a standout freshman season at Kingsway (N.J.) and a strong showing on the AAU circuit for Philly Pride, the sophomore guard had established himself as a sharpshooter.
He said there were some rumblings that was all he could do.
“I took that as disrespect,” Hart said.
Hart wanted to show his abilities on the court expanded beyond shooting the basketball. He could dribble, pass and defend as well.
As highlighted by another all-around effort in Sunday’s 77-71 win against St. Joe’s Prep, that’s exactly what he has been doing.
The lanky 6-foot-5 guard scored 16 points, grabbed four rebounds, added a pair of assists and came up with a late-game block to help seal the win.
“I had known he had the ability to score,” Roman Catholic coach Matt Griffin saiid. “I think what’s surprised a lot of people is his ability to affect the game in different ways. The passing, the ballhandling, his length. He does a great job getting steals, getting in passing lanes.”
While he has shown off his other talents this season, Hart can certainly still score the rock as well. He is averaging 14.5 points per game during Philadelphia Catholic League play.
Sunday’s performance was his 12th double-digit scoring effort in the Cahillites’ 13 PCL games.
“He just brings reliability,” Griffin said. “He shoots over 50 percent from the field, over 80 percent from the free throw line and over 45 percent from three. He’s got the best assist to turnover ratio on the team, and when we need big shots, he makes them.”
Coming to Roman this season with established stars like senior Allen Betrand, junior Seth Lundy and sophomore Lynn Greer III, Hart wasn’t sure how his skillset would mesh. He said he was "curious" how he would factor into the equation.
From the team’s first game though, he said he’s felt comfortable with his new teammates due to the team’s unselfish attitude and a common goal.
“We just wanna win,” Hart said. “That’s our motto. We just wanna win.”
Hart, Betrand, Greer and Lundy are a tough quartet to stop. In league play, Lundy leads the team in scoring at 16.8 points per game, Greer is averaging 16.6 points per contest and Betrand is averaging 14.1 points per game.
In Sunday’s game, all four reached double figures for the sixth time in PCL play. Greer led the way with 21, Betrand had 19 and Lundy scored 11 to go along with Hart’s 16 points.
“It just makes it harder on teams to guard us,” Lundy said. “If we have four guys on our team that can just get 20 any given night, it’s just harder for the other teams. Him coming to Roman was definitely a big help.”
Roman’s win was the Cahillites’ ninth in a row. After a 2-2 start to Catholic League play, Roman is now 10-2 in the PCL, good enough for third place. St. Joe’s Prep dropped to 7-6 and seventh place in the PCL with its loss.
Prep will play against Bishop McDevitt in the opening round of the PCL playoffs on Wednesday. Roman faces La Salle at home in the quarterfinal on Friday.
“We’ve gotta play together, play as a team,” Hart said.