PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers basketball is mourning the loss of 1990-91 Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year Keith Hughes. A native of Carteret, N.J., he played two seasons “On the Banks” under head coach Bob Wenzel and helped the Scarlet Knights to an NCAA tournament berth as a senior in 1991 and an NIT appearance as a junior in 1990.
Hughes passed away Saturday morning.
In just two seasons wearing the Scarlet after transferring from Syracuse, Hughes scored 1,257 points, which ranks 17th all-time in the RU annals. As a junior in 1989-90, he averaged 18.5 points and 8.2 rebounds-per-game to help Rutgers to an 18-17 record. He was named to the All-Atlantic 10 Second Team, as well as the A-10 All-Tournament Team. As a senior in 1990-91, Hughes averaged 21.0 points and 10.0 rebounds-per-contest to help the Scarlet Knights to a 19-10 mark. He was named First Team All-Atlantic 10, First Team All-MET, an ECAC All-Star and participated in both the Final Four slam dunk competition and the NBA Orlando Classic.
Hughes’ 19.6 points-per-game career scoring average is the fourth best in Rutgers history, while his 10.0 rebounds-per-contest career average ranks tied for 10th all-time.
Hughes, who was nicknamed "Shake," had many notable season and single game performances. He scored a career-best 40 points in a 79-78 win at Penn State on Jan. 28, 1991 to halt the nation’s longest home winning streak at 24 games. Earlier that campaign, which resulted in an NCAA trip, he was a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line to score 20 points in a 68-60 win over No. 23 Missouri at the RAC in the season opener.
Hughes was selected by the Houston Rockets in the second round (47th overall) of the 1991 NBA Draft. He played professionally in the Continental Basketball Association before competing overseas in Argentina, France, Poland and Bulgaria.