The wait for Ashton Hagans in Lexington won’t be much longer. The UK commit, who is still currently in the class of 2019 (I guess) is finishing one class and will immediately report to Lexington once he completes said class, Game Elite director Chris Williams told Kentucky Sports Radio.
“It will be done in a week or two,” Williams said. “(Then) he will immediately go to Lexington.”
Anyone who was worried that Hagans may not be in Lexington before the Bahamas trip should ease their concerns. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard from Georgia has even stopped playing in AAU events and camps this summer to focus on his schoolwork. For any teenager skipping out on playing a sport that you love to focus on school can’t be an ideal situation, but Williams said that Hagans is focused on the bigger picture.
“He knows the big picture and the bigger reasons behind it all so he’s not bothered by it,” Williams said.
And that is to play at UK and get to the NBA. Hagans’ AAU teammate Josh Nickelberry recently committed to rival Louisville and Williams said he was excited to see his two players play against each other in a rivalry game, I asked if the plan was for Hagans to be a one-and-done player. Nickelberry is in the class of 2019 and won’t be on UofL’s campus until the 2019-2020 season. If Hagans were to be a one-and-done he would never play his former teammate.
“Oh, yeah,” Williams said. “You’re right. I guess they probably won’t ever play against each other. I forgot to think about it like that.”
But for Hagans to be in the 2019 NBA Draft he will have to have a big freshman season at UK. One area to watch will be chemistry with Hagans and the other players already in Lexington. The entire team is there (sans Hagans and possibly Reid Travis). Those guys are playing pickup games, working out and traveling across the state together. The Bahamas trip will be a good opportunity for Hagans to catch up and develop a rapport, but Williams said Hagans already knows most of the current players.
Especially fellow freshman E.J. Montgomery, who spent some of the spring working out with Hagans in Georgia.
“He knows most of the guys already because they played at camps or playing against, and he’s been working out with E.J.,” Williams said. “They worked out a couple times during the week. They use the same trainer based out of Wheeler where E.J. went to school.
“They know each other’s games. Ashton know where E.J. likes to catch the ball, what he can do with the ball. They’ve played against each other a couple times in high school. They’ve been around each other long enough.”
Hagans will join a backcourt that will feature returners Quade Green and Jemarl Baker, with freshmen Immanuel Quickley and Tyler Herro. But you better believe Hagans is ready for the challenge of earning playing time.
“It’s going to be pretty competitive,” Williams said. “I don’t know Quade but I know Immanuel. Him and Ashton are bout alike. They’re pretty competitive and both take the game pretty serious. We played against Immanuel last season and they did camps together so they both know each other pretty well. It will be competitive so it will be good for the program. Iron sharpens iron, so as long as it gets them ready for SEC play.”
Williams said that Hagans won’t be worried about playing time in a crowded backcourt, but believes Hagans’ defense will give him an edge. Hagans’ versatility and speed defensively will allow him to guard talented opposing scorers.
“In my opinion he’s probably a top three defender regardless of class in high school,” Williams said. “He’s definitely going to make a major impact. He picks up 94-feet. He plays defense with pride and that’s a rare form and a rare art nowadays with high school kids.”
All that is left to do is for Hagans to finish his one class, get to campus and prepare to win a national championship.
“He’s excited about everything and get on campus to show what he can bring to the table and make it the best program possible,” Williams said.