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John Calipari Needs the Old Ashton Hagans Back

Much of the focus on Saturday’s night game is on the matchups in the post.  How the Cats defend Tennessee’s two bigs are important, but John Calipari knows Tennessee’s success comes from more than Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield.

“They’ve got a deep team and their guard play, the way they shoot and the things that they do,” Coach Cal said at Friday afternoon’s press conference.  “They’re not winning with one guy or two guys. They’re winning because of how they’re playing.  The biggest thing is because they lead the country in assists, they’re not going to beat themselves and they’re going to create opportunities and they shoot the ball well.  You better play a good game.  Better not be any tentativeness, just let it go and go play.”

Over the last three games, Calipari has seen too much tentativeness from Ashton Hagans.

“Ashton the last three games has not played well.  Matter of fact, he’s not played well at all.  This is a game where we’re going to need him to get back to where he was ten, twelve days ago when everybody was talking about him as the best on-ball defender in the country, a difference-maker, a creator, he pushes.  That’s all gone away. We need that back.”

Over the last three games UK’s point guard has committed nine turnovers, while forcing just three steals.  He’s averaging 4.6 points and assists through the three-game stretch.

“He’s a freshman.  He hit a little bit of a wall.”  Calipari believes it’s a hurdle Hagans can overcome.

“I just think you get tired. You lose focus and you get numb.  Every game we play is the same.  It’s someone’s Super Bowl.  It’s an out of this world game, the stadium’s filled.  Other teams are playing out of their minds and you kind of get numb to it and all of a sudden you’re not playing with the energy, the focus that you need to play with.”

Calipari added, “He’s had a heck of a year, he’s just had a bad week and a half.”

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Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

20 Comments for John Calipari Needs the Old Ashton Hagans Back



  1. VirginiaCat
    3:47 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

    Again with the “It’s someone’s super bowl.” Guess what, sometimes the other team is OUR super bowl. What? What? Tennessee is leading the SEC and is ranked #1 in the country. We are the team that stands to gain the most. It’s our turn to be the “playing out of their minds” team. What? What? You want the team to “let it go and go play?” Try to sitting on the bench instead of yelling and stomping around on the sidelines. Tennessee’s team is not stacked with high school five stars. They just stick with the program, gain valuable experience and get stronger physically. Maybe there is a lesson there. What?



    • ClutchCargo
      3:52 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      Guess what, he wasn’t talking about the UT game when he made the Super Bowl comment here.



    • J-Dub421
      4:05 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      Why don’t you go cheer for Tennessee then, since you love them so much? Clearly Kentucky is not the team for you because all you ever do is complain about UK and Coach Cal. Do yourself and the rest of us a favor and go find another team to cheer for. Transfer somewhere else, UK is a bad fit for you.



    • secrick
      4:20 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      There is a good team in Virginia you can yell for if you don’t mind getting beat by 16 seeds.



    • Irish son
      4:28 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      Hagans got destroyed by that little dude for LSU. Just totally embarrassed. If we’re depending on Hagans to get us to the promise land, we’re screwed



    • Realme
      4:38 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      Please stop saying what so much.



    • ClutchCargo
      4:39 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      So you’re saying we’re fine with Hagans not playing well? You’re missing the whole point of the article, which is we need everyone at their best, not just one or two guys.



    • 4everUKblue
      5:05 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      VA cat gets owned every time he posts something, a lot like bigolSlaterMedic aka no more excuses.



    • 4everUKblue
      5:10 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      I believe catsarerunnin has already taught VACat the lesson. So they stuck with a program that has won a title when??? NEVER is the word I believe you’re looking for VA.



    • DelrayCat
      5:36 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      I bet you don’t have much fun watching UK games VaCat.
      Although I do think Calipari fatigue is a real thing by many fans…but most of that is 100% curable with #9.



    • runningunnin.454
      5:36 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      Ashton has had a bad week and a half; Tennessee has had a bad 110 years. UT ranks 4th in SEC in all time winning percent, and 5th in SEC in all time wins.
      They have 0 NCAA championships, 0 NCAA final fours, 0 NIT championships, and 2 NIT final fours.
      Western Kentucky has a more illustrious basketball history than UT, but hey…yeah, they’re our Super Bowl.



    • ClutchCargo
      5:37 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      Rick Barnes is doing just what he did at Texas, and that’s completely fine for Tennessee. But his teams always have a ceiling that is just below what it takes to win titles. There is no lesson UK needs to learn from that.



    • 4everUKblue
      7:07 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      I was wrong, it was not catsarerunnin, it was RG454 that put VACat in his place.



  2. Realme
    4:01 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

    Have Ryan buy him a ticket.



  3. The last sith lord
    4:36 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

    Uk cant win against a good team without hagans playing his best ball .. Best ball being guarding the ball passing n hittimg a 10-12 ft jumper. No way hagans goes to th e nba if he cant hit an open shot



    • DelrayCat
      5:38 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      Actually, I think this stretch reveals that the one-and-done Hagans talk was a little premature.



    • 4everUKblue
      7:09 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

      I hope so, I’d like to have him back next year.



  4. J. Did
    6:24 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

    Different folks have different strokes. This is why you have other kids that can fill the role. Not Hagans night? How about Quickly? What about the Jermarlboro Man {yes, I realize he’s a shooter.. but if pushed has guard skills). Point is, KENTUCKY does not live and die by one kid’s lack of 7Ps exhibition. It is a team effort. It is the coaches job, and I give CAL and his bench brethren Kudos, to recognize which cylinder(s) to ignite.



  5. Luether
    11:53 pm February 15, 2019 Permalink

    I wouldn’t put so much of this on just Hagans. Other people like Quickley, Baker, Montgomery, and Richards also need to step up and could easily be the difference in the game…



  6. Racerr11
    8:03 am February 16, 2019 Permalink

    Obviously Hagan’s is the motor we need in the car he makes it go. His motor is what gets the other players going to play hard and aggressive. Go getem Ashton the BBN needs you and we love ya