PRO BASKETBALL PLAYER
One of the best shooting guards ever to come from the Show Me State, Larry Hughes continues to dominate his position in the NBA. He first came to the attention of the basketball world as a high school All Star in St. Louis and then as one of the best collegiate players in the history of Saint Louis University. He arrived in the NBA as a teenager and continues to prove himself as one of the top guards in the league.
THE EARLY YEARS
Larry Darnell Hughes was born on January 23, 1979, in St. Louis. The 6’5″ guard was one of the top college prospects in the country while playing basketball at Christian Brothers College High School, where he led his team to the 1997 Missouri State Championship. He added to his prep school legend by being one of the few Missourians ever chosen to play in the McDonald’s All-American High School Game.
RISE TO FAME
Hughes chose to stay close to home to play his college basketball at Saint Louis University. He was a pure scorer from the moment he stepped on the court to play for the Billikens. He set a single-season record for Saint Louis University by scoring 670 points in his one and only year with the team.
Hughes was named the NCAA Freshman of the Year and Honorable Mention All-America by the Associated Press after he averaged nearly twenty-one points per game. That left many fans wondering if he would return for a second season. The lure of the NBA won the battle, as Hughes was selected as the eighth overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1998 NBA Draft.
SHOW ME SUCCESS
In his very first game in the NBA, he proved to everyone that he belonged in the league. He scored a team-high twenty-one points against Boston en route to a successful rookie season. He finished his first year averaging nearly ten points a game, which ranked him the tenth highest among NBA rookies in 1998–99. He also ranked sixth in rebounds and ninth in steals.
He steadily improved his stats over the next few years, especially after being traded to the Golden State Warriors during his second year in the NBA. He stayed with the Warriors until the 2002 season when he was traded to the Washington Wizards. The Wizards were the center of the basketball universe that year when Michael Jordan returned to the league. The added notoriety helped catapult Hughes into the spotlight and boosted his value when it came time for a new contract. Two years later, he helped the team advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in twenty-three years along with fellow Missourian Anthony Peeler. That season he was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team.
Hughes was paired with another All Star, Lebron James, when the St. Louisian signed a contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was well publicized that James had personally asked for Hughes to join his team when his contract with Washington was up. One of the reasons for his popularity with other players is unselfish play on the court, making others around him even better. He finished his career in 2012 with the Orlando Magic, after more than 700 regular seaons NBA games played and 5 playoff appearances.
*He won the Conference USA Freshman of the Year Award in 1997–98.
*Larry finished sixth in the NBA.com Slam Dunk competition in 2000.
*The Cavaliers made him one of the highest paid players in the league, offering him an estimated $10 million a year.