Elijah Hughes is Headed to the Utah Jazz

Michael McAllister

Syracuse forward Elijah Hughes was elected by the New Orleans Pelicans with the 39th pick in the NBA Draft. It was the 9th pick in the second round. That pick was traded to the Utah Jazz, according to multiple reports. 

Hughes was projected to go anywhere from the late first round to mid second round in NBA Mock Drafts across several media outlets. He left Syracuse after two seasons with the Orange despite having one more year of eligibility remaining. 

But after the season Hughes had as a junior, it was hard to argue against him leaving. A 6-6 wing who can shoot, create his own shot and rebound, Hughes was a first team All-ACC selection after leading the league in scoring at 19 points per game. 

Hughes was much more than just a scorer. He averaged nearly five rebounds and over three assists per game. 

His story is an interesting one. As a high school recruit from Beacon (N.Y.), he attended Syracuse's elite camp and impressed the coaches. However, they did not have a scholarship available for him. Hughes was lightly recruited and signed with East Carolina. After a solid freshman season, Hughes elected to transfer and the Orange finally had a spot available. 

Hughes selected Syracuse as his transfer destination, and played a secondary role to Tyus Battle during the 2018-19 season. With Battle and forward Oshae Brissett leaving after that year, Hughes became the focal point of the program. He responded with a tremendous year that gave him the chance to realize his NBA dreams. 

With Hughes skill set, shooting ability and length, do not be surprised if he sticks in the NBA for several years. Jerami Grant is a recent former Syracuse player picked in the second round who has had a lot of success. Ironically, Grant was also taken with the 39th pick of the Draft back in 2014. He is due for a big pay day this offseason.