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Elijah Hughes’ shot blocking part of ‘momentum plays’ he adds to Syracuse

first_imgSyracuse’s senior point guard Frank Howard remembered Hughes showing off an innate shot-blocking ability last season in practice while the East Carolina-transfer was unable to play. In 2016-17, Hughes finished fifth at ECU in total blocks despite missing eight games due to injury. But Howard wasn’t sure if the rim protection against his teammates would translate into games. After all, Howard said, it was only practice.But midway through the season, Hughes’ blocking has shown. Against Miami, Hughes got a piece of Johnson’s jump shot early in the first half. Then, with about a minute until halftime, UM’s 5-foot-7 Chris Lykes sliced through the lane and attempted a scoop shot. Hughes, positioned near the left block, clobbered the ball away from the basket and into the courtside seats on the far side of the court.Hughes’ second block resembled a number of his denials this season: An opponent gets inside or past SU’s center, and Hughes slides inside from his wing spot to block a shot from the side or behind. Howard added that Hughes’ shot-blocking ability can be an added deterrent for guards to head into the lane.“He’s a jumpy guy, always anticipating,” Brissett said earlier this season. “He’s really smart, on the defensive end and the offensive end.”The “craziest” block Howard’s seen out of Hughes was his third and final against the Hurricanes. Hughes went up with Johnson on his dunk attempt and “swatted that,” Howard said.Anna Henderson | Digital Design EditorHughes’ other multi-block game this season came against Arkansas State on Dec. 22. First, he rotated to the paint after ASU’s point guard drove and sent away 6-foot-8 Salif Boudie’s dunk attempt. Then he did it again, another dunk attempt from Boudie stifled.Howard referenced Hughes’ ability to generate “momentum plays.” Hughes hits 3s, dunks on people and blocks shots. Because of those plays, Hughes has most frequently set the Carrier Dome crowd into frenzies.So when Hughes is defending a break 1-on-1, out in front of Howard, the senior knows he doesn’t need to get in Hughes’ path. He knows Hughes will be the one to make the play.“I might try to slow up a little bit because if I see him running, I know he’s gonna get that,” Howard said. “You’re just trying to find the ball after.” Elijah Hughes thought he was going to get dunked on. Midway through Syracuse’s game against Miami on Jan. 24, Hurricanes’ guard Zach Johnson — who had transferred from Florida Gulf Coast’s “Dunk City”— prepared for a 1-on-1 fast break against Hughes.But Hughes jumped alongside him anyways, meeting Johnson at the rim as he cocked the ball back in his right arm. Hughes’ right hand overpowered Johnson’s and pushed the ball away. There would be no poster: Only a rejection.“I’m thinking so fast, I don’t really know (if I got it),” Hughes said. “… (I’m) just going off instinct trying to get it.”Of the top-32 players in the ACC in block percentage, only one is shorter than the 6-foot-6 Hughes, per Kenpom.com. The redshirt sophomore blocks 2.7 percent of each field goal attempt opponents take while he’s on the floor. Hughes ranks third on Syracuse (14-6, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) in blocks (12) behind Paschal Chukwu and Oshae Brissett, and he picked up a career-high three against Miami. In the nine games Hughes has blocked a shot, the Orange have won all but one.Hughes always aligns in one of the two wing positions along the backline of SU head coach Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone. He’s shorter than either of his usual opposite wings, 6-foot-8 Brissett and 6-foot-10 Marek Dolezaj. But Hughes more than makes up for a slight height disadvantage with his athleticism and anticipation.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“He’s got a good spring, and when he gets a running start on people, he can go get it,” Boeheim said after SU’s win over Miami. Published on January 29, 2019 at 11:23 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Wasim Akram turns 50: A look at five of his most enduring records

first_imgThe Sultan of Swing has turned 50 today. It has been 13 years since Wasim Akram retired from international cricket but he still cherishes every moment he is involved with the game, be it as a commentator or as a coachDeservedly, Akram woke up to an avalanche of birthday wishes this morning. He started the day by thanking his fans on Twitter..Woke up this morning on my 50th birthday with my kids & wife around me & messages from all over!Thank you for all the love & wishes today Wasim Akram (@wasimakramlive) June 3, 2016In his heyday, Akram was batsman’s nightmare. Even the best in the business could rarely get the better of the Pakistan pacer. The clip of India great Rahul Dravid struggling to put bat to ball against Akram tells us volumes about his bowling mastery.Akram was tall, taller than his Asian counterparts and matched the West Indies pace greats not just with his height but also with the aggression and class. Akram deceived and set batsmen up with his incredible ability to swing the cherry both ways. He, along with his teammates Imran Khan and Waqar Younis, made life difficult for batsmen with their reverse-swinging toe-crushers.A COMPLETE PACKAGE Akram was a complete package. He had the variety that caught batsmen off guard. All this was coming from swift wrists that never divulged the seam to the batsman. Not just with the ball, Akram was a passable batsman too. On umpteen occasions, he has chipped in with the bat for Pakistan as well. The left-handed all-rounder has 2898 Test, 3717 ODI runs against his name.  advertisementAkram carried forward the pace-bowling legacy of Imran Khan and Sarfraz Nawaz and also borne the burden of captaincy after Khan’s days. He led Pakistan to Test Championship title in the inaugural edition (1999) and had won 12 of the 25 matches he skipper the team.ANY GUESSES? My new avatar! Can you guess what it’s for?? pic.twitter.com/rnDi3B0kLJ Wasim Akram (@wasimakramlive) May 7, 2016His impact in world cricket is phenomenal. Any promising left-arm pacer is will be asked  about emulating Akram. Many have tried but not many have even remotely come close to achieving benchmark set by the Pakistan pacer.Akram, now, is one of the most revered cricket commentators in Asia. Also, he has found tremendous success in his second innings as coaching staff. Akram was part of the support staff when Indian Premier League team Kolkata Knight Riders lifted the trophy in 2012 and in 2014. He was appointed as director of Pakistan Super League team Islamabad United in the inaugural edition of the tournament. And guess what, Akram as team director tasted success as the Misbah-ul-Haq-led team clinched glory in the recently concluded season.On his 50th birthday, here’s a look at some of the staggering records set by Akram. Akram had never played first-class cricket before making his debut for Pakistan against New Zealand in November 1984. Kudos to the then Pakistan selectors who got him the team.   Akram sealed the top-spot in Wisden’s all-time ODI bowlers list.  With 1223.5 points, he edged past South Africa’s Alan Donald and compatriot Waqar Younis.  The Pakistan great is also widely regarded as the best left-arm pacer in international cricket. Akram’s unbeaten 257 against Zimbabwe in 1996 is the highest by a No 8 batsman in Tests. With the same knock, he created another record by slamming the most number of sixes (12) in a Test innings. Given the reduced ground sizes and longer bats, Akram still holding to the record is a phenomenal feat. Akram is the only bowler to have taken four international hat-tricks – two in ODIs and two in Tests. His ODI hat-tricks came in a span of two years  – the first one against West Indies in 1989 and the second against Australia in 1990. Notably, Akram hit the timber on all six occasions. Akram was the first ODI bowler to get to 500 wickets. He stayed on top of the bowling charts for six years until Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan went past him. With 502 wickets from 356 matches, Akram is second on the list.last_img read more