Kentucky lands commitment from five-star PG Ashton Hagans

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Kentucky lands commitment from five-star PG Ashton Hagans


Kentucky lands commitment from five-star PG Ashton Hagans

Kentucky basketball landed a five-star perimeter prospect less than 24 hours after Shai Gilgeous-Alexander announced he was leaving school for the NBA.

Ashton Hagans, the 6-foot-4 top-ranked junior point guard from Covington, Ga., committed to Kentucky and coach John Calipari Tuesday morning.

“I felt like Coach Cal and his staff could take my game to a different level,” Hagans said shortly after he committed.

Hagans could reclassify and play for the Wildcats next season. A one-time University of Georgia commitment, Hagans can’t comment on potentially beginning his college career early due to plans to participate in AAU events this summer. He said he also considered Georgia, Georgia Tech, Marquette, Florida State and others.

Hagans backed off his pledge to UGA when Mark Fox was fired last month. He said he wanted an offer from Kentucky due to Calipari’s history sending point guards to the NBA.

“I mean, who wouldn’t?” said Marvin Hagans, Ashton’s father. “John Calipari — any and everybody would say he knows what he’s doing.”

Louisville offered Hagans a scholarship last month, just hours after Chris Mack agreed to become the Cardinals’ coach. Kentucky followed with an offer one day later.

Evan Daniels, the 247Sports national basketball analyst, said last month Hagans would not be the top point in the 2018 class. That honor would remain Duke signee Tre Jones’. But Daniels said Hagans would be considered an elite prospect, no matter what class he ends up with.

“He’s a tough, physical point guard with good size for the position,” Daniels said. “What I like most about him is how competitive he is. He competes on both ends and is a rare two-way player. Hagans also has good vision, can really pass and excels as a playmaker.”

Kentucky already has former five-star point guard Quade Green returning for his sophomore season, a Class of 2018 five-star point guard signee in Immanuel Quickley and two more perimeter signees in shooting guard Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson.

Recent history explains why the Wildcats invited Hagans to join them next season.

Gilgeous-Alexander, who announced Monday on SportsCenter he was headed to the NBA, emerged last season as a drive-first, defensive-minded guard to lead Kentucky. He ran the point and moved Green to a role predominately playing off the ball. Hagans could occupy the lead guard spot, similar to Gilgeous-Alexander’s style.

Quickley said at McDonald’s All-American practice Monday he would be comfortable in a role on or off the ball.

“I’m comfortable pretty much doing anything,” said the 6-foot-3 native of Bel Air, Maryland. “Handling the ball, playing off the ball and getting to the rim and finding guys. That’s pretty much what my game is about: versatility and coming and doing anything to help the team win.”

Quickley and Hagans played against each other last summer and spent time together at Adidas Nations. Hagans and Johnson became friends when Hagans briefly flirted with playing for Virginia prep powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, where Johnson starred this past season.

“Ashton is a dog,” Johnson said. “He gets down, plays defense and is a very physical guard.”

For more, visit the Courier-Journal

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