Ashton Hagan’s decision to reclassify was one of the moments that crystallized the 2018-2019 Wildcats as NCAA Championship contenders. John Calipari’s newfound depth at point guard has been a welcome sight for UK fans and an intriguing one for hoops pundits.
Sports Illustrated has been highlighting the most elite freshmen heading into the upcoming season, and they slotted Hagans at number 14, tagging him as a worthy replacement for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander:
If Hagans can help replace Gilgeous-Alexander’s production and contribute defensively, Kentucky should be all set. It’s got depth all across the court and Calipari is a gifted point guard creator. He’s coached five top-10 NBA draft picks at the point guard position and Hagans could easily be the next, with speed similar to the likes of Kentucky greats John Wall and De’Aaron Fox.
While comparisons to Wall and Fox might be lofty, and are certainly premature from a skill perspective, Coach Cal does have a way of molding old fashioned raw talent into a more refined style of play. with time and competition, Hagans could absolutely climb into that echelon.
He led UK in steals with 8 during their stint in the Bahamas, demonstrating that defensive ferocity we’ve come to love from UK point guards. Once he gets some time under his belt running the offense, and if he can cut back on the turnovers, Ashton could be Kentucky’s top point guard option come time for March Madness.
Hooray for football and everything, but can basketball season hurry up too, please?