It’s an uncertain time for everyone right now, and NBA hopefuls are no exception. While former Syracuse Orange standout Elijah Hughes has been invited to the NBA Combine prior to the delayed 2020 draft, neither he nor anyone else knows if the combine will even take place.
Still, Hughes is hard at work preparing — something he shared more details around with The Athletic’s Matthew Gutierrez.
Going into the 2019-20 college basketball season, Hughes was not necessarily a rising name on draft boards, but a lot has changed following a campaign where he averaged 19 points per game while being the on-the-court leader for the Orange. He’s moved up to 39th on Sam Vecenie’s board, and 29th on NBADraft.net. Tankathon says 47th, while the Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor has Hughes 43rd on his big board. He’s No. 41 over on ESPN, too. Needless to say, he’s on radars.
What could set him apart and help vault him into the first round could be the combine. Given his shooting stroke, defensive abilities and ball-handling, he’s not a one-trick pony. Playing with other, NBA-caliber players could reveal that even more than what scouts saw at Syracuse. That doesn’t mean he’ll be a lottery pick. But sneaking into the first at least comes with guaranteed money attached.
You can read more on that, and other Syracuse-related news below:
“I want to become better at what I’m good at,” Hughes says. “Pin-downs, catching off the pass, bad passes, all of it. I’m a high-character teammate and person. I will always be there for my teammates. I want to bring a smile if they’re down and be someone who is reliable. Someone who is a great teammate who plays good defense and makes shots consistently.”
The NBA combine, usually held in May in Chicago, was postponed by the coronavirus and has yet to be rescheduled. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported that 105 players who received the most votes from NBA executives were notified they had made the initial combine cut. The combine invitation list is usually 60-70 players, so it’s unclear when or if the list would be trimmed to that number when a combine date is set. (Or if a combine is held.)
“I believe a proper timeline could be a check-in point at the end of July, which is what we believe in at the SEC, and then let’s see what happens as we start training camps and fall practices,” Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said. “It’s a lot easier to pull back than it is to ramp up. I think really you could look at the middle of August as a realistic timeline to say, ‘OK, are we ready to start on time?’”
I’ve long felt that more conference games is the direction college football should go. I would prefer seeing schools play 10 conference games every season and two nonconference games to what we see now. There are too many games played between schools with no connection to one another, while regional rivals who share a conference and began playing a century ago might see one another once a decade. It’s a system that makes little sense.
He’s a sponge. He’s listening, he’s attentive. His work is always at a high level. Even when he’s doing a dribbling drill with his left hand, he’s going 100 percent. We talk about being consistent with your effort, which is a big reason why he went from around six points per game to 15. You’re not always going to be shooting or playing well, but your effort can still be consistent and high to impact the game.
Former Syracuse football lineman Evan Adams cut by Ravens (Syracuse.com)
2020 bowl matchups we’d like to see (Cardiac Hill)