Kentucky’s sophomore starting point guard has hit a three-game skid in the turnover department. Ashton Hagans has totaled 15 turnovers since the road trip to Lubbock. Kenny Payne had only one word to describe the recent phenomenon.
“I just think they’re careless. Again, it has nothing to do with the defender, more to do with his mindset and carelessness and undisciplined at times,” UK’s associate coach said Monday afternoon.
By giving away five Kentucky offensive possessions a game, it’s plain to see the problem. The root cause of it is a little more perplexing. Regardless of the reason why, it’s a problem that must be fixed.
“When we watch them on film, (he) just takes the eyes off the ball for no reason and hit his foot for no reason. He just has to be a little more focused. Probably some of it is minutes, playing a lot of minutes. The season is long. We’ve played a lot of games, we practice hard here but you gotta be mentally locked in.”
Hagans has played better than many expected for most of the season. A Bob Cousy Award finalist and the SEC’s leader in assists (7.0 apg.), less than two weeks ago we were calculating how Hagans needed to finish the season to surpass Tyler Ulis’ single-season assist record. Hagans’ turnover epidemic over the last three games has drawn a much less flattering comparison to Ulis. With ten regular season games remaining, Hagans has committed 73 turnovers, four more than Ulis made in the entire 2016 season.