That didn’t take long.
Less than two weeks after receiving a scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky — and five days after his first major sitdown with UK’s coaches — top basketball recruit Ashton Hagans announced his commitment to the Wildcats.
That announcement actually could have come a bit sooner.
Hagans — a 6-foot-4 point guard from Covington, Ga. — made up his mind over the weekend, his travel team coach said, but he knew friend and fellow five-star prospect EJ Montgomery was set to reveal his own UK commitment Monday, so Hagans held off for a day.
“He didn’t want to do it yesterday, because he respects EJ and he knew EJ was committing and wanted to have him have his day,” Game Elite Coach Chris Williams told the Herald-Leader.
Hagans is apparently already in a sharing mood. UK fans should get used to it.
The Cats are getting not only one of the best point guards in high school basketball, but a player who — despite his ample scoring ability — has developed a reputation as one of the best and most willing facilitators in the prep ranks.
Though he’s currently a member of the class of 2019, it remains a possibility that Hagans will make a move to the 2018 class this summer and begin his college basketball career next season.
If that happens, he could join a backcourt that already includes fellow five-star point guard recruit Immanuel Quickley and former five-star recruit Quade Green, who was UK’s starting point guard for much of last season.
“Ashton is the type of kid that can get along with anybody,” Williams said. “Whether it’s Quade or Immanuel or whoever else is there, he’s just looking to bring what he can bring to the table and complement everybody else’s game.”
Talk is one thing. Numbers are another, and the figures that Hagans has put up recently back up his coach’s words.
Hagans earned Georgia player of the year honors as a junior this past season by putting up 20.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and a whopping 10.7 assists per game. He was also the leading passer on the Adidas circuit last summer, averaging 8.3 assists per game in that league. (The next highest player on the Adidas assist list averaged 5.8 a game).
Knowing that, it should be no surprise that other players want him on their team.
UK signees Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro had been actively recruiting Hagans to Kentucky even before he landed a scholarship offer from Calipari late last month, and Quickley, whose role and playing time might be impacted most by a Hagans commitment, has been all in on the idea of adding another point guard to the mix.
“It’s basically the business of basketball,” he told the Herald-Leader. “Playing point guards together, playing guards together. And he’s real versatile as well, so I think we can both play together.”
Hagans, who decommitted from Georgia earlier this year, met with Calipari and assistant coaches Kenny Payne and Joel Justus last Thursday — the first day of the final spring recruiting period for in-home visits — and that meeting ultimately clinched his commitment to the Cats.
The star point guard sat down with his father and his coach over the weekend and decided he knew for sure where he wanted to play college ball. Hagans also knew that Montgomery was going to commit Monday, so he made his own announcement Tuesday.
“He felt that they could get the job done to get him to the next level,” Williams said. “Obviously, he’s friends with Tyler and Keldon and Immanuel and EJ. He knows what he can bring to the table. He believes that they play his style of play, and he’s just going to be there to make everyone better.”
The announcement also came less than 24 hours after Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — the Cats’ star point guard this past season — said he would leave UK for the NBA Draft.
Currently, Hagans is ranked as the No. 6 overall player and No. 1 point guard in the class of 2019, but that could change soon. The plan is for him to play out the rest of the summer schedule with Game Elite on the Adidas circuit and then make a decision on the timing of his entry into college basketball after that, around late July or early August.
Williams said Hagans, who turns 19 this summer, is taking courses that would allow him to move to the 2018 class and play college ball next season.
“As of right now, he’s still a 2019 kid,” he said. “At the end of the summer, he’ll make a decision on whether he’s going to reclass or stay 2019.”
247Sports national analyst Evan Daniels has told the Herald-Leader recently that he expects Hagans to end up in the class of 2018. That would give UK five new players with a five-star ranking from at least one major recruiting service, along with whoever else comes back from this past season’s team.
Daniels described Hagans as a strong, physical point guard who can get into the lane at will, competes on both ends of the floor and takes “a lot of pride” in his defense.
Williams, who has coached Hagans since the eighth grade, said he’s still improving.
“His game is crazy, and it’s kind of scary that he’s getting better and better each year,” he said. “He’s more athletic and more of a dog on the court, both ends. That’s the scary part of it — he’s still getting better.”