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Kentucky Basketball: Ashton Hagans and EJ Montgomery shining in practice

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Two incoming freshmen are making the biggest impressions.

Jeremy Chisenhall

We’re into the early days of practice, as the Kentucky Wildcats are taking full advantage of their allotted four hours of on-court work per week.

The early reports are that EJ Montgomery and Ashton Hagans are each already making a name for themselves. Kentucky Sports Radio’s TJ Walker gave his thoughts on both of them, and what he’s heard about them, on Monday.

While Montgomery isn’t getting nearly the same preseason love as PJ Washington and Reid Travis are, don’t sleep on the freshman from Georgia. He’s making a strong impressing in practice thus far, as Walker writes:

When talking with people that have seen this team practice it’s impossible to have a conversation where Montgomery isn’t mentioned. He’s been one of the best players in practice and his versatility is perfect for UK. P.J. Washington and Reid Travis can stretch the floor a bit, and we saw Washington playing on the perimeter a few times, but Montgomery will be able to play with any other frontcourt player.

Walker also said that Montgomery has the highest offensive ceiling of all the bigs, although he won’t be the best offensive big from day one. TJ Beisner of CoachCal.com also had great things to say about Montgomery last week.

The addition of Montgomery hasn’t been made out to be as big a deal as it is. Whether that’s because he committed later, or whether it’s because he’s surrounded by a lot of talent in the frontcourt, the five-star big has a high ceiling, and Kentucky swiping him out from under Duke’s nose was a huge deal. His early success in practice is just a peek at what he’ll give Kentucky this year.

As for Hagans, Walker said he’s hearing that the reclassified point guard has been a very pleasant surprise.

Hagans is supposedly the most athletic player on the team, fastest with the ball in his hands, best on the ball defender and I’m told that he could be in the conversation for the best player on the team come March.

I was told other guards are better in certain areas (shooting specifically) but it’s clear that Hagans is the best “all-around” point guard.

You’d expect there to be a learning curve for a 2019 point guard that jumped into the 2018 class, but Hagans seems to be taking it in stride, and giving the other guards a run for their money.

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