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Ashton Hagans named National Defensive Player of the Year candidate

© Dale Zanine | USATSI

© Dale Zanine | USATSI

You thought Kentucky football was the only UK athletic program with a National Defensive Player of the Year-caliber player? Think again.

The Atlanta Tipoff Club released their midseason watch list for National Defensive Player of the Year, and Kentucky point guard Ashton Hagans made the cut.

The 6-foot-3 point guard out of Cartersville, GA is just one of 15 players included on the list, one of two freshmen (Zion Williamson, Duke), and one of two SEC representatives (Grant Williams, Tennessee).

Averaging 2.3 steals per contest, Hagans is ranked No. 2 in the SEC overall and No. 3 nationally among all freshmen. In players averaging 25 minutes or less per game, Hagans leads the country in steals per game among freshmen.

When you break down the advanced numbers, the Kentucky star point guard’s performances look even more spectacular. On the season, his steal rate per 40 minutes is 3.7, while that number over his last seven games has skyrocketed to 5.3 steals per game.

To take it a step further, Hagans is the first player in Kentucky basketball history with at least three steals in seven consecutive games, including an eight-steal outing against North Carolina on December 22.

The National Defensive Player of the Year award finalists will be announced in February, and it’s almost a certainty the Wildcat point guard will find his way on that list.

Congratulations, Ashton!


Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

9 Comments for Ashton Hagans named National Defensive Player of the Year candidate

  1. fish on
    1:08 pm January 22, 2019 Permalink

    Hagans! Thief! We hates it!!

    • Chade Sparrow
      1:53 pm January 22, 2019 Permalink

      My precious…

  2. The last sith lord
    1:19 pm January 22, 2019 Permalink

    Hes somewhere tween rondo n wayne turner. With his def and jump shot .. I hope he doesnt try to go pro with that broke jumper. Hell end up a 3rd string pg like briscoe

  3. Smyrna_Cat
    3:05 pm January 22, 2019 Permalink

    Do we have a list of the other candidates?

    • somerset bill
      3:46 pm January 22, 2019 Permalink

      Hagans stole it.

    • Aar
      5:29 pm January 22, 2019 Permalink

      Bill, I LOLed on that. Nice one.

      If I’m not mistaken, he wasn’t on the pre-season list (if there is one) was he? How many other programs garner enough exposure to get that much recognition in half a season?

  4. BBNnCLE
    7:33 pm January 22, 2019 Permalink

    But…the great Jay Bilas keeps touting Tre Jones as the “best defender in the country” why isn’t he even on this list??

    • JASUN74
      10:41 pm January 22, 2019 Permalink

      BBNINCLE, lol. He sure does talk him up. He definitely deserves to be on the list though. As a matter of fact, I believe he’s second behind Hagans. That’s big praise, but the kid is a pest and a heck of a player. I hate all Duke things, but he’s not too bad yet. Haha. He sure plays his ass off and I can respect that and still hate the school. Lol. Thanks bud.

    • BBNnCLE
      9:08 am January 23, 2019 Permalink

      I agree with you man I just can’t say he’s better than Hagans even if I try to be unbiased lol. What’s most impressive to me about Hagans making this list is he did it without making major contributions the first month of the season.