We regret to have to report the sad new of the passing of one of the all time great NJ Hoopers. Former Carteret and Rutgers star Keith Hughes passed away at the age of 45.
During his high school career for the Ramblers he finished with 1,742 points. He was regarded as a top 100 recruit before those type of lists became commonplace and was a MVP of 5-Star Camp.
He went to Syracuse after high school but transferred back home after two seasons for the Orange. In his sophomore season, Hughes came off the bench, averaging 5.4 ppg in a limited role.
"After two years he was stuck behind Derrick (Coleman) and Billy (Owens),'' Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim said. "They were pretty good. I told him 'I'd love to have you here,' but it was a case where transferring was the right thing. It was perfect. It worked out."
He was an immediate star after transferring back home to Rutgers. After sitting out one season due to transfer rules, Hughes went on to star for Rutgers. With him as the leader, they were ranked in their first AP Poll Top 25 appearance since 1976. He led the Scarlet Knights to their last NCAA Tournament appearance in back in 1991 where they lost to Arizona State in first round.
He recorded averages of 19.6 ppg and 9.0 rpg for Rutgers. As a junior he was named to the Atlantic 10 Conference 2nd team his junior season, and the conference 1st team his senior season. He was also selected Atlantic 10 Player of the Year in 1991.
Despite only playing two seasons for Rutgers, he finished 17th on Rutgers career scoring list with 1,257 career points.
Hughes is one of the NJ Hoopers who made it all the way to the NBA Draft. He was selected with the 47th pick in the second round of the 1991 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He never played in a NBA regular season game but starred in the CBA and spent many years playing professionally around the world.
Keith's son Keith is a star at Georgian Court College. The Woodbridge HS grad was ranked among NJ Hoops top 60 seniors in the Class of 2012.
Hughes had a big strong body and was a very skilled offensive game. He could score in the post with his back to the basket and was equally comfortable shooting from the perimeter.
Keith Hughes Sr. RIP.
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