Dark Horse Spotlight

2023 5’6 PG Alyssa Hughes

While it’s rare to find a freshman with the skill set necessary to contribute meaningfully at the varsity level, it’s even more rare to find one with the mental maturity to make a mark on the game. According to St. Charles North varsity Head Coach Mike Tomczak, it’s that advanced basketball IQ that makes Alyssa Hughes such a special player and prospect.

“The sky is the limit for Alyssa. Her court vision and ability to pass

Dark Horse Spotlight: 2023 5’6 PG Alyssa Hughes

with either hand is years beyond her peers. More than that, she’s a true student of the game who throws herself completely into the mental side of basketball. The growth I have seen in just one short year (which was significant) will pale in comparison to the exponential growth we will see over the next three”.

Indeed, Hughes made an immediate impact on the North Stars varsity team last winter, providing her team with an elite perimeter shooting threat who moves well off the ball and scores at an efficient clip. While her quick stroke and deep range earned Alyssa recognition as one of the state’s best young three-point shooters, she also showed tremendous confidence attacking off the dribble as the season progressed, making her an even more difficult matchup for opposing guards. Offensively, Hughes is comfortable playing in either guard spot, and she has proven that she does not need to have the ball in her hands to help her team. The momentum that Hughes established as a freshman continued into the past AAU season, where Alyssa continued to develop into a multi-faceted scoring threat and an intense defender with her M14 Hoops team.

To Coach Tomczak’s point, it’s clear to onlookers who evaluate Alyssa that her mind is always thinking ahead of the gameplay. She’s constantly moving off-the-ball to create opportunities within the flow of the offense, and when the ball is in her hands, she acts decisively, attacking in straight lines or pulling for her shot without hesitation. The intangibles are also a big part of the value that Hughes provides to her teams, as she’s an excellent communicator on both ends of the floor and a tough player who takes pride in winning loose balls.

Off the court, Hughes will undoubtedly excite college coaches with her academics, as she holds a perfect 5.0 unweighted GPA at the conclusion of her freshman year. While her sophomore year has started with remote learning in the coronavirus environment, she continues to perform at a high level in the classroom and will undoubtedly do so throughout the remainder of her high school career.

Now, allow us to introduce you to Alyssa in her own words:

  1. As you think ahead toward your ideal college situation, what factors are most important to you in picking a school? What are you looking for in a school and basketball program? My ideal college situation would be an opportunity where I could play for a basketball program who has built a culture and tradition of excellence and combine that with an elite academic institution. I am targeting basketball programs that have either had recent success at the national level with tremendous coaching or teams with great coaching staffs that are beginning to turn around their programs. I realize that my basketball playing days will not last forever and that a solid academic degree is the primary reason that I am attending college.
  2. From your perspective, what are your greatest on-court strengths that you will bring to your future college program? My greatest on-court strengths include my ball handling, consistent shooting, and court vision, but what separates me from my peers is my competitiveness and work ethic. Offensively, I am comfortable playing either guard position and can adapt my game to being more of a scorer or more of a distributor based on whatever our match up advantage may be. Defensively, I enjoy studying my opponent’s tendencies and defending the other’s team best guard.
  3. During this coronavirus era which aspects of your game are you working to improve? And how are you being creative with your workout routine? I have primarily been working to improve my strength and speed. Fortunately, I have an older brother who also plays basketball and we motivate each other with our daily workouts. We typically alternate days between upper and lower body workouts and combine that with daily ball handling, speed and agility training. With our ball handling drills, we try and incorporate creative and unique moves that we can integrate into our game. Additionally, I am a student of the game and am using this time to watch film from last year, both to see what I could do differently and to track my opponent’s tendencies.
  4. If we asked your teammates what their favorite part about playing alongside you was, what would they say? My teammates would likely say that they enjoy playing alongside me because I make good decisions with the ball in my hands. This includes knowing when to push the pace in transition or slow it down and set up the offense, as well as reading the defense on ball screens. I am always looking to exploit mismatches and strive to get my teammates the ball in a position where they can take advantage of those opportunities. They would also likely say they enjoy playing with me because I consistently play with the same intensity regardless of the score of the game.
  5. During this time in which college coaches cannot travel to watch you play live, what’s one thing you’d like for those coaches to know about you? One thing I would like college coaches to know about me is that I am always working to make myself better as well as my teammates around me. While everyone loves playing in games, I also love the process of getting better each day. From intense workouts to watching film and getting ready for game day, I believe these aspects contribute to my success. I know on game days that I have put in more work than my competitors which gives me the added confidence to compete at an elite level.

Interested in learning more about Alyssa?

Additional film, academic information, and other recruiting updates are available to college coaches upon request. Email bruggles@darkhorserecruits.com to learn more.