Getting Ashton Hagans back was a big boost for next year’s Kentucky Basketball team.
We saw the mass potential that he has on the defensive end while also getting a glimmer of what he can do on the offensive side of the ball as well. Also, having your starting point guard for majority of the year return for his sophomore season is a big bonus that is rare in the Calipari era. The last one to do so was Tyler Ulis (insert excited face).
Well, others are taking notice as well. NCAA.com’s Andy Katz predicts that Hagans will be one of the biggest breakout stars for next season.
“Kentucky needed a player at the point who can shepherd along another high-level recruiting class,” Katz wrote. “Hagans took over the position and excelled. He had close to a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio and will be counted on by John Calipari to be a leader.
“His standout game came against Kansas when he scored a dozen points and dished out eight assists,” Katz wrote. “He handed out 12 assists and scored 10 points in a four-point SEC tournament semifinal loss to Tennessee. Hagans hasn’t shied away from the big moment. He’ll have plenty of those next season.”
Hagans had a stretch of games in which he played stellar defense and stole the ball 40 times in the span of 12 games. However, after that span, things started to become very inconsistent.
He had games in which he looked like a true leader on the court, involving his teammates by getting 10+ assists. Then he had games in which he looked like he didn’t know what was going on which resulted in 5+ turnover games. The most notable one was his last where he recorded 7 turnovers against the Auburn Tigers.
Now, again, Hagans was a freshman so it’s not really surprising to see him be inconsistent in his first year. Let’s also not forget that Hagans was supposed to be playing in his senior year of high school during the 2018-2019 campaign before reclassifying and joining the Cats this past year.
However, this fact does show that he has potential to be a breakout star during his sophomore season like Andy Katz is predicting. Also, he ended SEC play shooting 34.5% from beyond the arc and 76.1% from the free throw line. If he can improve those numbers this offseason, watch out.
With the return of Immanuel quickly and the addition of Tyrese Maxey and Dontaie Allen, Kentucky’s backcourt next season has the potential to be one of the best in America.