The UK basketball program officially announced Sunday that five-star point guard Ashton Hagans has signed financial aid papers with the university and will be part of the Wildcats’ team for the 2018-19 season.
Hagans’ move from the 2019 recruiting class to the 2018 class has been expected for months, and the player himself announced Friday that he had graduated from high school and was ready to make that transition. The Covington, Ga., standout arrived on UK’s campus Sunday and will been college classes this week.
“So happy to see my dream of playing for Coach Cal and the Big Blue Nation come true,” Hagans said in UK’s statement. “To follow the footsteps of all the great point guards that came before me is truly a blessing.”
One of the top prospects in the country, Hagans averaged 20.2 points, 10.7 assists, 7.6 rebounds and 3.6 steals this past season. He had been ranked by 247Sports as the No. 6 overall player in the 2019 class, and he’s likely to be similarly placed when the 2018 rankings are updated to reflect his reclassification.
Originally committed to home-state Georgia, the talented playmaker backed out of that pledge toward the end of this past season when it became clear that Mark Fox would not be back as the head coach of the Bulldogs.
Hagans committed to Kentucky in April.
“Ashton wanted to be at Kentucky all along,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “When I found out how badly he wanted this and had a chance to see him play, I told our staff what a great fit he would be whether he chose to come to school this season or next. Ashton wanted this so much that he worked extremely hard in the classroom these last few months to finish up his high school requirements and graduate this past week.
“Now he comes here just a couple of weeks after the rest of our guys and is ready to join this group. He can do a little bit of everything, but what separates him from his peers is his playmaking ability and leadership. You’re talking about someone who other people want to play with. I’m looking forward to seeing him get to work with the rest of our guys.”
Hagans — a 6-foot-4, 185-pound player — officially joins a recruiting class that already included highly touted prospects Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, EJ Montgomeryand Immanuel Quickley, as well as walk-on player Zan Payne, a standout at Lexington Catholic High School.
All of those players are now on UK’s campus for summer classes.