It’s been over two months, but Kentucky’s loss to Auburn in the Elite Eight is still fresh in Ashton Hagans’ mind. Hagans, who quickly decided to return to Lexington for a sophomore year, said closing the book on such a special season has been difficult, but he’s determined to use the pain from the loss as fuel for this season.
“It’s actually been in the back of my head a lot,” Hagans said today. “It’s just one of them feelings that will never go away because you were so close and like I said, the bond that we created, it was different. Knowing that we can’t be with the same group, it hurts but it just adds fuel to the fire that we’ve got coming in. Knowing what you could have done last year, just bring it in and just leave it on the court this year.”
Fellow guard Immanuel Quickley agreed that the loss still hurts, but is grateful for another chance to “run it back” with Ashton, Nick Richards, and EJ Montgomery.
“When you lose a close game like that so close to the Final Four, it definitely hurts a lot,” Quickley said. “Definitely comfortable knowing those guys are back on the floor and off the floor. Those were my brothers last year. We came up a little short but it just makes it better that we get to run it back with a couple of the guys we had last year.”
Hagans’ followers on Instagram may have noticed the hashtag #UpToSomething he’s been using on videos of the team working out in the gym. Based on his comments today, he’s pretty happy with his squad so far.
“Talent wise, I think we’ve just got pieces so I think we’re going to do something real special,” Hagans vowed.