Ashton Hagans only finished with six points last night, but said he couldn’t have asked for more in his first game as a Kentucky Wildcat.
“My first game was amazing,” he told KSR. “I tried to come off the bench and bring the intensity on defense and play as hard as I can. Coach told me, if I just play my game, it will all come through in each way, on offense and defense, so I was just trying to play my game.”
When the Bahamas National Team cut Kentucky’s lead to two towards the end of the first half, Hagans checked in and flipped the script, stealing the ball and scoring on a nifty layup and cleaning up his own miss on the boards to score again moments later. As Tyler Herro said, Hagans is already a difference maker on the court, which is especially impressive when you consider that a few months ago, he was only a junior in high school.
“Everything,” Herro said of what Hagans brings to the team. “You saw when they started to go on their little run, Ashton came in and got two steals, two layups, some pressure on the ball, 94-feet, that’s what he’s known for. He can do a lot more. He brings a lot to the table”
Hagans credited a lot of his performance to his battles with Immanuel Quickley in practice the last few months.
“I try to come in to practice and compete everyday. Me and Immanuel, we go at it everyday, and Quade [Green]. So, we’ve been going at it waiting to play this game the last two months. It was just amazing.”
Being able to team up with Quickley in the backcourt vs. someone other than his teammates? Also — you guessed it — amazing.
“It was great. I’ve been waiting to do that because we’ve been beating each other up for the past month. It was just amazing.”
“I thought those two on the ball — Ashton and Immanuel — were pretty active,” he said afterwards.
The icing on the cake of Hagans’ amazing debut? The crowd, which included his family.
“First off, I would just like to say I love Big Blue Nation because that was just amazing for my first game. I didn’t think it would be like that. I have my family here and I just had to put on a show for them. I was trying to put on a show for Big Blue for my first time in a Kentucky jersey.”