Former Syracuse basketball star Elijah Hughes is truly excited and humbled by becoming a professional hoops player.
There is a lot to admire about former Syracuse basketball player Elijah Hughes, and that includes his talent on the court as well as his character off the court.
After the 6-foot-6 Hughes, a shooting guard/small forward from Beacon, N.Y., got selected at No. 39 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft held on Wednesday evening, his excitement and enthusiasm arrived front and center.
It proved a real treat to see that kind of emotion from Hughes, who led the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring during the 2019-20 campaign and put forth one of the best all-around performances in recent Orange program history.
The New Orleans Pelicans chose Hughes in the second round, but then the Utah Jazz acquired the draft rights to him in exchange for a future second-round pick and cash considerations.
Hughes provided a ton of really interesting insight in a Q&A that got posted to nba.com/jazz. We share some excerpts of this media interview here.
When asked about his style of play, Hughes said it’s an “all-around kind of offensive threat, put the ball on the floor, make plays, making the game easy, quick, one-dribble pull-ups, two-dribble pull-ups, knock down open shots.”
But then Hughes added something which I really respect. “I want to show people I can defend, and I want to prove that and lead from day one,” he said.
Hughes credits his family, friends and agent for helping him to get through a challenging last eight months, in essence since the 2019-20 stanza got canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
He says that when he found out he was going to Utah, Hughes’ reaction was “my heart started pumping and I started sweating and I couldn’t hold back – I tried my best to hold back the tears, but it just kind of flowed with it. I’m still right now kind of shaking, and it’s still kind of surreal.”
Hughes notes that in being from Beacon, a small city in New York state, “I kind of want to bring that attitude … everything is possible. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, how big of a town it is, how much hype it has. You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.”
His passion for sneakers is well-documented, and Hughes describes his personality in this manner. “I’m a people person. I love people. Love meeting people. A really smiley guy. I love sneakers. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sneaker fanatic. I love sneakers. … I’m just really like up tempo, good locker room guy, loves to smile, loves to just have a good time but also knows when it’s time to be serious and when it’s time to compete.”
Like I’ve said on many occasions, you have to admire Hughes’ skill-set, his mentality, and his passion. I sincerely hope that Hughes has a long and flourishing NBA career in store for himself.