COVINGTON, Ga. -- According to Gatorade, there was no boys basketball player better than Newton point guard Ashton Hagans.
The 6-foot-4 junior and 5-star prospect was named the Gatorade boys high school basketball Player of the Year Thursday -- the first ever Newton player to gain such a distinction -- with a special announcement of the Gatorade winners set to broadcast via hudl.com Thursday night at 8 p.m.
According to the official press conference, the Gatorade recognition is reserved for student-athletes who excel both in their field of competition and academically.
Hagans has been considered the consensus No. 1 prospect in the state of Georgia and either the No. 1 or No. 2 prospect in the nation for the class of 2019 for much of the season, and his play with the No. 3 Newton Rams seemed to consistently back that up.
Hagans, the lone returning starter from last year's nationally ranked Rams squad, led an inexperienced starting five to the Class AAAAAAA State Final Four this year. The Rams fell to nationally ranked (No. 17) Norcross last Saturday in the state tournament semifinal.
However, Hagans averaged 20.1 points, 10.7 assists and 7.7 rebounds per game during the regular season, helping Newton to a 29-4 overall mark and back-to-back Region 8-AAAAAAA championships.
Hagans was also named to the 2018 Naismith High School All-American team as an honorable mention performer. He took home Region Player of the Year honors, is a two-time all-state selection and a Georgia Mr. Basketball candidate. The Newton star, who recently decommitted from Georgia after a Dec. 21 pledge, also holds a B average in the classroom, and has had relentless interest from college recruiters since backing off his UGA pledge.
Hagans has also quelled rumors about him reclassifying to the Class of 2018. In his blog for USA Today's high school sports channel, Hagans calls those rumors "not true," and said, "I'm staying 2019."
Now that his junior season is over, and the 2017-18 Georgia high school basketball season is down to its last weekend of action, look for more accolades and news about Hagans to come trickling in.