Syracuse forward Elijah Hughes decides to remain in 2020 NBA Draft

Hughes UNC
Feb. 29, 2020; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Elijah Hughes (33) shoots over North Carolina Tar Heels guard Brandon Robinson (4) during a 92-79 loss. Mandatory Credit: Initra Marilyn, The Juice Online.

Syracuse redshirt junior Elijah Hughes will forgo his final year of collegiate eligibility and remain in the NBA Draft, he announced Tuesday on Twitter.

The initial report came from Jeff Goodman, and Hughes responded to the tweet saying, “thank you orange nation from the bottom of my heart.”

Hughes was the ACC’s leading scorer at 19.0 points per game last season, and he was named First Team All-ACC. He is currently projected as a late second round pick by the major pre-draft services.

» Related: Syracuse forward Elijah Hughes was fortunate to be First Team All-ACC

Hughes had originally declared for the draft on March 21, but left open the possibility that he would return to Syracuse, partially because of the uncertainty of pre-draft workouts as a result of the COVID-19 virus.

He had the option of waiting until June 15 to decide whether or not to return to Syracuse, but he made his decision on Tuesday.

Hughes transferred to Syracuse after one season at East Carolina where he averaged 7.8 points per game. In his final game in the ACC Tournament against North Carolina, he led the Orange with 27 points in a 81-53 rout. That turned out to be the final game of the ACC Tournament.

SU finished the season 18-14, and was a longshot to make the NCAA Tournament.

Syracuse has a potential replacement for Hughes, nabbing Illinois transfer Alan Griffin earlier in April. The NCAA is deciding on legislation later in the year that would make Griffin immediately eligible.

The Orange has not had a player selected in the NBA Draft since Tyler Lydon was taken 24th overall by the Denver Nuggets in 2017.

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Wes Cheng
About Wes Cheng 2568 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.