LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky basketball plays at the Sweet 16 Thursday in Atlanta, near the home of a potential future Wildcats’ five-star point guard.
Ashton Hagans, a 6-4, 185-pound junior from Covington, Ga., who could reclassify and begin his career a year early, decommitted from Georgia last month shortly before Bulldogs coach Mark Fox was relieved of his duties.
In response, at least two recruiting experts last week predicted via the 247Sports Crystal Ball feature that Hagans would eventually sign to play for Kentucky.
The Wildcats staff has yet to reach out to the Hagans family, said Ashton’s father, Marvin.
“We would love for Kentucky to recruit him along with everybody else,” Marvin Hagans said. “I mean, who wouldn’t? John Calipari — any and everybody would say he knows what he’s doing. But we’re wide open to everybody and we’re not going to rush anything.”
At least one Kentucky assistant, according to Marvin Hagans, has contacted Chris Williams, Hagans’ Game Elite 2019 AAU coach.
Hagans has elite talent and enticing options.
Considered the top point guard and No. 8 overall player in the 2019 class, Hagans has achieved enough in the classroom to reclassify and enroll in college this summer. That decision would expedite his process and could elevate the intensity of his recruitment, especially for Kentucky.
Wildcats freshman point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has played himself into discussion as an NBA draft lottery pick. With the Southeastern Conference Tournament MVP likely to turn pro, Kentucky could begin a search for another player in the 2018 signing class. Five-star signee Immanuel Quickley, like Kentucky freshman Quade Green, is listed as a point guard who could potentially play off the ball, opening up a spot for a player like Hagans, who averaged 14.3 points, 8.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit last year.
Marvin Hagans recalled two former Kentucky stars when asked to describe his son’s game.
“We modeled his style after John Wall,” Marvin Hagans said. “And he passes like Rajon Rondo.”
Evan Daniels, the 247Sports national basketball analyst, said Hagans would not be the top point in the 2018 class. That honor would remain Duke signee’s 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.”
Georgia coach Tom Crean, hired last week to replace Fox, has already started building a relationship with Hagans. Crean retaining assistant Jonas Hayes could help Hagans decision to realign with the Bulldogs, Marvin said, but there’s nothing in particular Georgia has to do to win the recruitment.
“Just recruit. He doesn’t have to do anything special,” Marvin Hagans, whose nephew Trey Thompkins played for Fox at Georgia, said. “All coach Crean has got to do is recruit him. Not just Georgia — Louisville, Kentucky, anybody.”
North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio State, Marquette, Providence, Georgetown, Florida State, Maryland and Arizona State are among the schools that reached out since late February, when Hagans backed away from his Georgia pledge.
“Everybody is still in the running,” Marvin Hagans said. “We’re wide open.”