COVINGTON, Ga. — There's no question about it. Newton's Ashton Hagans is the All-TCN boys basketball player of the year, and it isn't even close.
That's no offense to any of the other talented ballers in the Covington/Newton County area. It's just that it's not every day that this kind of talent comes to your backyard. Hagans has won Gatorade boys player of the year in Georgia, Mr. Georgia Basketball from the prestigious Atlanta Tip-Off Club and was named all-Class AAAAAAA or all-state player of the year from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association among others.
Hagans is considered the top point guard prospect in the country for the 2019 class, and is one of the hottest prep basketball recruits in the nation.
By now, it is well rehearsed what Hagans has accomplished on the court. But you can check out our Q&A with this year's POY that we originally published on March 17 when Hagans was first made aware of this honor.
Stovall: You’re about two weeks removed from your junior season at Newton. Now you’re getting all the postseason accolades. What’s been going through your mind with all the postseason attention?
Hagans: “Well, it was pretty much like the same as it was before, when I committed to Georgia. I’ve just been chilling, though. I haven’t really been on Twitter or social media like I used to. I’ve been laid back, trying to get things right in school, and just resting my body for the summer.”
Stovall: What are your summer and offseason plans?
Hagans: “I’m going to be playing AAU ball with Game Elite. I’m actually getting ready for a workout with them now.”
Stovall: When you look back over this whirlwind junior season you’ve had, what was your biggest highlight and what was your biggest challenge?
Hagans: “I’d have to say making it to the (GHSA Class AAAAAAA) Final Four was my biggest highlight. It was a great season. Everybody was sleeping on us and not expecting us to make it as far as we went, but we did and it was big time. But probably the most challenging thing was going to practice every day and just being a leader and trying to push us through the state tournament.”
Stovall: Since you decommitted from Georgia, what’s the recruiting attention been like, and how are you approaching the whole recruiting process now?
Hagans: “Really, I’m just being open for everybody right now. So everybody’s opening up to me and showing how much they’re interested in me. But I’m very open. I’m waiting on things to fall into the right place right now, and I’m going to take my time and let things play out to the end this time.”
Stovall: Surely you’ve heard of the hire at UGA of coach Tom Crean. Has he tried to reach out to you yet?
Hagans: “I was the first one he called. We had a good talk, and he was telling me that he loved my game and the way I play.”
Stovall: How much do you know about Coach Crean?
Hagans: “Actually, we’ve had a relationship before this. We’ve had a relationship this summer at the Adidas camps and all that. And once he found out he was going to interview for the job at Georgia, he contacted me, and we just kind of picked up our relationship from where we built it over the summer.”
Stovall: What are your impressions about Crean and his fit for the UGA job?
Hagans: “Well, from what I’ve seen from the camps this summer, he cares about what he’s doing. He loves everyone. When we talked he said he felt like the fans at Georgia love him and that he can’t wait to be a Dawg.”
Stovall: That said, there have been lots of rumors about you reclassifying to 2018 and trying to graduate early. In your USA Today blog, you said you would stay 2019. Is that still your plan, and, if so, does that mean you’ll return to Newton next year?
Hagans: “Yeah, I’m going to stick with 2019. And as for me coming back to Newton next year? Of course.”