Ashton Hagans talks Kentucky commitment
COVINGTON, Ga. -- Early Tuesday morning, Newton High’s five-star, all-world point guard Ashton Hagans announced via his personal Twitter account that he was committing to the University of Kentucky to continue his basketball career.
This announcement, though huge news, was not a shock as many predicted Hagans would choose the Wildcats who had offered him a few weeks ago.
Having had a literal front-row seat to watch Hagans play this past season, I have a few hot-take style thoughts on this news:
1. Will Hagans fit Kentucky on the court?
The 6-foot-4 junior put up impressive numbers this past season, averaging 20.1 points, 10.7 assists, and 7.7 rebounds per game. These numbers do not show it all though. When he’s on the court, Hagans is in control. A true triple-threat at all times, Hagans stumps defenses with his ability to shoot, pass or drive to the rack at any given moment. His motor and intensity allow him to play stifling defense, often shifting the game’s momentum with a fast break steal and slam.
His unrelenting ability to finish at the basket is comparable to another former Kentucky five-star point guard, John Wall, which is ironic since Hagans says the John Wall Kentucky squad was the one that made him fall in love with the Wildcats’ program. Like Wall, Hagans is always looking to play downhill, and with court vision well beyond his years, Hagans is the perfect fit for any team and could’ve literally played for anyone he wanted. Thankfully for Big Blue Nation, he chose Kentucky.
2. Will Hagans re-classify to the 2018 recruiting class?
Though he is currently listed as a high school junior, and a member of the 2019 recruiting class, rumors have been swirling that Hagans could take additional high school classes, allowing him to graduate early, and begin his college career next year, making him a member of the 2018 class. This would be huge for Kentucky as it would give the ‘Cats five five-star recruits in the 2018 class (according to ESPN.com), the most for any team this year, and arguably giving them the top class in the nation.
The other four are EJ Montgomery of Wheeler, ranked as the nation’s No. 16 prospect, according to the ESPN 100 rankings, Keldon Johnson (No. 6), Immanuel Quickley (No. 17) and Tyler Herro (No. 25). Hagans is ranked No. 19 for the 2019 class. It is still undetermined if Hagans will reclassify, although in an interview with Sports Editor Gabriel Stovall, he calls it a “50-50 chance.” Chris Williams, Hagans’ AAU coach says it’s likely a summer time decision.
3. What does this commitment mean for Kentucky basketball and Newton basketball?
For the Wildcats, the addition of Hagans will reload Kentucky’s annually talent-laden team and help them chase after their ninth national championship. Depending on his reclassification, Hagans could immediately step into a starting role and join a stacked class of freshmen, and some solid returnees such as Jarred Vanderbilt and Nick Richards, on the court for Kentucky. For Newton, if Hagans does indeed reclassify, the Rams will have to fill a huge hole in the starting point guard position for next season. If Hagans returns for his senior year, the Rams would be returning several starters from a squad that reached the state final four, likely positioning them for another run at the state title.
Despite the immediate outcome, the announcement of Hagans’ commitment is huge news both in Newton County, Georgia high school basketball, and college basketball. Make sure to see above for Hagans' full video interview with Gabriel Stovall where Hagans talks more about what made Kentucky his dream school, and the likelihood of him reclassifying.