Hughley a force on the court, in the classroom

Hughley (left) is averaging 1.3 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.

Graduate students often have a much larger workload and more demands on their time than those who are taking undergraduate classes. Try being a student-athlete at the same time.

Mo Hughley is a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University and a forward on the basketball team. The Queens Village, N.Y. native transferred from California State University Bakersfield prior to this season.

He is currently studying graphic design, communications and liberal studies.

“It’s not hard [being a graduate student], but it’s a lot of work.” Hughley said.

Hughley also said his professors expect the quality of his work to be higher than that of an undergrad and as a result, he has many late nights studying and doing things such as 20-page book reports is a normal occurrence.

Despite the larger workload, his teammates describe him as being laid back and fun to be around.

“Mo has a very good heart,” center Olalekan Ajayi said.

Ajayi also poked a little fun at his teammate’s interest in cooking.

“He thinks he can cook better than any other people,” Ajayi joked.

According to forward Karrington Ward, Hughley’s abilities in the classroom also translate onto the court.

Ward and Ajayi said even when Hughley is on the bench, he watches plays unfold and points things out to his teammates on the floor.

“Mo is a very smart player,” Ward said. “He acts like a coach.”

Ajayi expanded on Ward’s thoughts.

“Mo is a very good player [with] lots of experience,” Ajayi explained. “[He] is very skillful, very aggressive.”

The reserve forward has appeared in six games this season and averages 1.3 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.

His season high came against Concordia University on Nov. 8 when he scored four points in five minutes.

Hughley said he has been playing basketball since the age of two.

“[New York] is the best place to play basketball in the world,” he said. “People dress up there like they’re going to the club. Basketball is everything in New York.”

In addition to basketball, Hughley played AAU baseball because his high school never had a football team.

“That’s my game,” he said. “I like to throw the ball.”

Hughley grew up with one favorite player: former Philadelphia 76er and Detroit Piston Allen Iverson.

“I used to go to his games all the time,” Hughley said.

Hughley told me he thought Iverson was misunderstood in his famous quote about practice. He believed that Iverson meant to say while practice is important, it’s not as important as the game itself.

“Practice doesn’t win championships, games do.” he said.

With the holidays coming up, Hughley explained the type of home-cooked meals he enjoys.

“Mom’s potato salad, Grandma’s mac and cheese, Dad’s ribs and Jamaican food,” he said. “It’s Hughley’s home cooked meals.”

Hughley also mentioned he likes to watch TV shows, but he does it the way many college students do, especially over break – Netflix.

“I hate waiting for next week,” Hughley said.

Hughley wants to be around the sport, even after he receives his graduate degree.

“I would coach,” he said. “I like to help people.”

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Follow Al Willman on Twitter: @AlWillmanEcho

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