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Calipari: Ashton Hagans’ success a lesson to the team

This morning, Ashton Hagans won his second SEC Freshman of the Week award, and while most coaches would focus on the freshman guard’s high number of steals or ever-increasing point totals, John Calipari brought up a less flattering stat on the SEC Teleconference: his turnovers. Cal said that the fact that Hagans won the award for games in which he also turned the ball over a lot is a good lesson to the rest of the team about what really matters.

“It’s a great thing for my team to understand. In the two weeks [Hagans] was SEC Freshman of the Week, he had five turnovers in both games. Anthony Davis was the MVP of the national championship game and was 1-10. All the players, or whoever is around these kids says, ‘Let them be the center of attention, let them shoot all the balls, let them be –‘ You are wrong. You are absolutely wrong. That’s not how they’re being evaluated. It’s a big deal for me when this kind of stuff happens. Again, trying to get these guys as a group to play winning basketball, I’m talking a lot about it now. How do you play winning basketball? The plays you make in the last five minutes that win you ball games.”

Similarly, Calipari said Ashton’s success is proof that if you play to your strengths (steals, defense) and don’t worry about your weaknesses (turnovers), you’ll improve.

“Happy for him. I’m happy that our players can see what he’s doing and that everybody’s talking about he’s this, he’s that, it’s because of his strengths. Forget your weaknesses. Play to your strengths. Don’t let somebody tell you, you’ve got to do this, this, and this — things that you don’t do well – to really be that guy. Stop. Play to your strengths. We’ll work on the weaknesses. Game time, winning time, we’re not going to that. We’re playing everything to people’s strengths, or at least trying to.”

Hagans’ play over the past month is proof that when freshmen block out the clutter and buy in to what Calipari and his staff say, they’ll turn the corner.

“It’s funny how this stuff goes. Early in the season, he was struggling to find his way, struggling to be consistent, struggling to play winning basketball and there’s a panic and all of a sudden, over the month, he starts to get it. He starts to realize we have a better feel for what he is as a player and now, he just plays to his strengths. Like I said, he’s playing as well as anybody we have on our team.”

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Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

15 Comments for Calipari: Ashton Hagans’ success a lesson to the team



  1. runningunnin.454
    1:19 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    Hagans lesson for the team is…effort. The rest of the team would do well to emulate his effort and energy.



    • Jiminy Crickets
      1:50 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      Agreed. Hagans and Herro are only two on team day see giving effort the whole game, even if they’re not scoring enough or playing well, they don’t quit.



    • michaelb
      2:07 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      Jemarl baker is playing some mature minutes right now too. Him and Hagans are contributing a lot right now when most didn’t expect



    • bigbluebanana
      5:20 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      Agree jiminy, I’d probably throw Quickley and Baker in there too, especially over the last 10-14 days or so. Possibly Travis too. Travis’ problem is that he’s just not an Uber talented baller. But I feel his effort is almost always there and he plays to his strengths well.



    • J-Dub421
      2:23 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      Quickley is working pretty hard. Reid also works hard; he’s just at a disadvantage because of his short arms.



    • ibescootch
      1:58 am January 15, 2019 Permalink

      Lol- Reid’s short arms! It’s true, but funny to picture. His new nickname should be T-Rex.



    • ClutchCargo
      2:32 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      Baker’s hustle is underrated. Seeing him play in person Saturday night, it is clear he didn’t just sit there and daydream when he was on the bench all that time. He consistently goes over screens on D, something that a lot of guys struggle with. I think Travis is having to learn how to play against long, athletic guys. In the SEC, unlike PAC 12, even the guys who aren’t that good at basketball are still really athletic.



    • Mathlete
      4:28 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      If Cal could get half the effort from PJ and Keldon that Hagans, Herro, and Quickley put in, we’d run any team in college basketball off the court



  2. KYjellyRoll
    2:18 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    Exactly. Now, people hounding Washington, Cal has probably told him “get rebounds and play D”. That’s why he isn’t scoring 20 a game. He’s playing to his strength



    • secrick
      3:03 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      I agree with you on Washington.Reid does have me puzzled, played great against Louisville and North Carolina and both teams have big guys. Since we started Sec play he hasn’t done as good, not bad just not as good.



    • jytruebluefan
      3:14 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      I’m sorry but the evaluation of Washington is incorrect. Rebounding is one of his strengths but his biggest strength is back the basket and facing up one on one against other forwards. He should be a dominant force and continues to disappear in every aspect of the game for most of the game. It is very frustrating to watch.



    • bigbluebanana
      5:22 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      Agree jy, I’d love to see it “click” for PJ finally and him turn into Admiral Schoefield. I think he has the ability to be every bit the player Admiral is, and Admiral is a legit contender for Player of the Year.



  3. Kat4Life
    5:19 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    Our guard play is erratic as hell, but clearly improving.



  4. Racerr11
    8:29 am January 15, 2019 Permalink

    Keldon has played hard and aggressive every game. Ashton plays with lots of effort, Reid for the most part has gave lots of effort. As usual with Cal were going to be fine and we have all the pieces to be a legitimate contender.



  5. Racerr11
    8:32 am January 15, 2019 Permalink

    PJ was the same last year one good game then 3-4 when u barely know he’s out there. I hope that pattern changes because he has the ability to be very special. Come one PJ show us what you really are so we can get #9