The SEC’s reigning conference Defensive Player of the Year is back, and he’s still getting better. Ashton Hagans is once again being recognized for his defensive skills, as he was just named to the watch list for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award. Hagans is one of just 15 players on the list, and the only one from the SEC.
So far this season, Hagans owns a team-high 39 steals, oftentimes drawing the assignment on the opposing team’s best offensive player. He’s averaging just over two steals per game, which ranks among the top 30 in the country. In just 55 career games, Hagans has already accumulated 100 career steals, which ranks among the top 35 in Kentucky basketball history.
Hagans has boasted double-figure scoring in 14 of 18 games, including a career-high 26-point performance in the win over Utah Valley. He’s also flirted with a triple-double on a number of occasions this season, including his recent performance against Alabama.
He’s dished out three or more assists in every game this season, and has five or more assists in 16 of the Cats’ 18 games. For the season, Hagans is averaging 7.3 assists per game, good enough for No. 8 in the country. That impressive stat also puts him ahead of Tyler Ulis’ 2015-16 school record – more on that “competition” here.
The Naismith Defensive Player of the Year will be announced in February.