UK Men's Basketball

Another UK player makes his decision. See how next season shapes up.

Ashton Hagans says he felt like he let the team down

Kentucky basketball guard Ashton Hagans talks to the media after his team’s 77-71 overtime loss to Auburn in the finals of the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Regional in Kansas City. Hagans committed seven turnovers in the loss.
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Kentucky basketball guard Ashton Hagans talks to the media after his team’s 77-71 overtime loss to Auburn in the finals of the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Regional in Kansas City. Hagans committed seven turnovers in the loss.

University of Kentucky point guard Ashton Hagans will be back for another season with the Wildcats in 2019-20.

The freshman announced his intentions on his Instagram account on Tuesday evening, a mention that was quickly tweeted about by the UK basketball account.

Hagans’ decision came the same day as sophomore PJ Washington’s announcement that he would hire an agent and enter this year’s NBA Draft.

Additional announcements could come later this week as Big Blue Nation awaits word from freshmen Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro. Both players, like Washington, are projected as first-round picks in the 2019 NBA Draft.

At times this season, it appeared the 6-foot-3 Hagans might be ready to join that group but some late-season struggles showed additional development could be in order. Hagans’ freshman pinnacle came when he set a UK record for steals in a game with eight against North Carolina. His low might have come in the Cats’ final game of the season, when he committed seven turnovers in an NCAA Tournament loss to Auburn.

“We had a great season this year but I want more,” Hagans said in a news release from UK. “I know I’ve only scratched the surface with my game and there’s so much more I want to accomplish at Kentucky. Coach Cal and the staff have challenged me since day one, and I know with another season at UK we can chase some special things with the same mindset. I can’t wait to get back to work with my brothers.”

Hagans, from Cartersville, Ga., started 30 of the Wildcats’ 37 games this past season and averaged 7.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.5 turnovers per game.

He is expected to be challenged for playing time at the point next season by current freshman teammate Immanuel Quickley and incoming high school point guard Tyrese Maxey, who is rated by Rivals.com as the No. 9 overall prospect and No. 2 point guard in the recruiting class of 2019.

There might be ample room for everyone. Both Quickley and Maxey have displayed the ability to be effective as guards off the ball.

“I had a great meeting with Ashton,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “He had a wonderful season but he’s not satisfied. He said his desire was to come back and continue to grow and do some special things at Kentucky. That’s all I needed to hear. He’s ready for the challenge, and I’m all in with him.”

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