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Syracuse basketball: Elijah Hughes among 10 finalists for Julius Erving Award

He may be unlikely to win the honor, but the redshirt junior is still having quite the season.

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team’s Elijah Hughes is one of 10 finalists for the Julius Erving Award, given to the best small forward in NCAA Division I (on the men’s side).

Hughes curretly leads the Atlantic Coast Conference with 19.4 points per game, while shooting 42.6% from the field, 35.9% from the perimeter, and 80.6% from the free throw line. His 60 made three-pointers this season are second in the conference to teammate Buddy Boeheim, who has 77. Hughes also averages 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game.

The redshirt junior is joined by Louisville’s Jordan Nwora, Boise State’s Derrick Alston Jr., Florida State’s Devin Vassell, Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, Memphis’ Precious Achiuwa, Oregon State’s Tres Tinkle, Vermont’s Anthony Lamb, Villanova’s Saddiq Bey, and Xavier’s Naji Marshall.

The Julius Erving award was created in 2015. SU has never had a player win, although Michael Gbinije and Oshae Brissett were named to the preseason top 20 watch lists in 2015 and 2018, respectively.

Hughes does, however, have a good chance at the first AP All-ACC first team appearance for Syracuse since Rakeem Christmas in 2014-15. But Syracuse’s middling performance as a team will likely prevent Hughes from earning the ACC Player of the Year award. Perhaps that changes if the Orange are able to surge in the league standings as the season hits the stretch run.