Madison’s King of Queens

Madison’s King of Queens

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald PhotoAdjusting to college hasn’t been too hard on University of Wisconsin freshman guard Trevon Hughes. After all, Hughes already made one of the most difficult transitions in his life five years ago.Sick of all the trouble brewing on his hometown streets, Hughes moved from Queens, N.Y., to attend St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield. Hughes’ mother and grandfather felt the move would make him a better person, and while it was initially difficult going from the city to countryside, his elders were right.”They wanted me to try it out and when I did, I liked it,” Hughes said. “I just liked the discipline because I knew I wasn’t going to get in at New York, and I didn’t want to live my life being miserable and having an attitude, so coming to St. John’s really helped me mature.”At St. John’s, an all-boys school, Hughes experienced the atypical high school life. Every day he woke up at 6 a.m. to give himself just enough time to clean his room for inspection, get dressed in his uniform and march with his classmates to breakfast.But in the end, it made him a better person.”Having gotten to know him when he was a freshman at St. John’s, he has probably grown more in that four-year span than I have ever seen anyone grow in high school,” UW assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Greg Gard said. “He really matured, and a large part is due to the background and what he had to go through in a day-in and day-out basis in military school.”When you have to march at 6 a.m. every morning, you learn what work ethic is and what discipline is about — what accountability is about.”And while military school may not have been a favorable setting for a city boy such as Hughes at first, there was one place on the St. John’s campus where he did feel comfortable — the basketball court.In his senior season last year, Hughes led the Lancers to their first-ever playoff berth and was a first-team all-state selection by The Associated Press, averaging 22.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 4.8 steals per game.Hughes’ play on the court, as well as his humble attitude off of it, led several Division I schools to recruit him rather heavily. At first, he didn’t pay too much attention to all the letters and phone calls, but when it came time to decide, Hughes felt as though there was really only one option — the University of Wisconsin.”There were other schools that recruited me really hard, but the coaching staff here was so great and the team chemistry that I saw when I was visiting was awesome, so I decided to come here based off of that,” Hughes said.Gard said the coaching staff did nothing special in recruiting Hughes — they were just straightforward with him from day one.”We were honest with him,” Gard said. “I think that’s the biggest thing — that we didn’t try to sugar-coat anything. When we didn’t like what we saw or we saw areas where he needed to improve, we weren’t afraid to tell him.”We weren’t trying to sell him a used car, we were just very up-front with him and he liked what he saw.”Growing up on the streets of New York, honesty was a big selling point for “Pop” — Hughes’ nickname given to him at birth by his Puerto Rican grandfather, short for papi.”With his background and where he’s come from, he has seen every way of life,” Gard said. “So for him to have somebody or a staff that was going to be honest and truthful with him, I think that was the biggest thing that probably helped us [recruit him].”But while military school certainly helped Hughes adjust to the college life right away, the jump still hasn’t been easy.Hughes’ minutes have been rather sporadic to start the season, but he finally got a chance to showcase his skills this Saturday.Against No. 17 Marquette, Hughes shined in his first game with a significant amount of playing time. In 18 minutes, he posted a stat-line of five rebounds, two assists and three steals.For many of his teammates and the UW coaching staff, Hughes’ spark off the bench was something they’ve been waiting a long time for.”We’ve been telling people for a while what he can do,” senior guard Kammron Taylor said. “And he got out there in a big-time game, and I think he showed a lot of flashes of how good he’s going to be in the future.””He responded remarkably — to go into that atmosphere for the first time getting significant minutes,” Gard added of his play against Marquette. “You really can’t rattle him.”However, the Marquette game was just a glimpse of what “Pop” has to offer. While military school helped Hughes tone down his attitude, he’s now trying to bring some aggression back to the court.”I toned down and I’m not so aggressive anymore,” Hughes said. “But I’m trying to get back that eye of the tiger and help the team out.”last_img

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