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Elijah Hughes declares for the 2020 NBA Draft, adds to backcourt concerns at Syracuse

One of the most improved players in the ACC is set to leave college basketball: Elijah Hughes has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft.

An All-ACC performer during the 2019-20 season, Hughes averaged 19 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game. As the usage and play-making duties of Hughes increased — with his assist rate doubling to 20.1 percent — so, too, did his efficiency. Hughes improved both his BPM and true shooting percentages this season.

Hughes was one of only five players in the ACC to finish with a usage rate above 25 percent (a personal increase of five percent) and an assist rate north of 20 percent. According to Synergy Sports, Hughes attempted 120 off-dribble field goals (43.8 eFG%) in the half court; that checked in as the fifth highest total in the ACC. It’s also a massive spike from a season ago (56 FGA).

Hughes, who transferred to Syracuse in 2017 from East Carolina, recently turned 22; he will be 23 at the time of the 2021 NBA Draft, which likely played a role in his decision-making process.

With Hughes gone, however, things could get complicated in Syracuse’s backcourt. Last week, three guards — Jalen Carey, Howard Washington and Brycen Goodine — entered the transfer portal.

The Orange have one of the better combo guards in the 2020 class set to arrive, though: Kadary Richmond, a 4-star prospect. Richmond, a top-100 prospect, can help matters — by adding depth. Clearly, a lot will fall on the shoulders on Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard.

 

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