Kentucky Wildcats point guard Ashton Hagans has bypassed the 2019 NBA Draft and will return to UK, he announced on Instagram.
Hagans reclassified with intentions of getting to the League as soon as possible. However, after his performance for the majority of the season, he’s returning to school for a sophomore season.
Hagans had an excellent stretch from the end of December through January, but he hit a rough patch and never fully bounced back. His shot and inability to stay in front of his man have limited his upside. At least for now.
He averaged 7.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game as a freshman. He also averaged 1.6 steals per game on his way to Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the SEC.
But as mentioned above, his shot limited him offensively. While he shot 47 percent from the floor, Hagans only managed to shoot 27.5 percent from deep. He did shoot 75.5 percent from the free throw line, though, which is very solid.
Ashton was also limited by turnovers, as he averaged 2.5 per contest. He plays at an extremely fast pace and, sometimes, he got ahead of himself...and everyone else.
He started out slow before breaking out with an eight steal performance against Coby White and the North Carolina Tar Heels. That started a six-game streak in which Hagans recorded at least three steals.
Let’s not forget, Hagans was supposed to be a senior in high school last season. But he is 19 years old, and older than Kevin Knox, so his jump to the college level wasn’t extremely premature. Although, that’s still a missed year of development in high school. If Hagans does return for his second season at Kentucky, he could enter the league at the same time had he not reclassified.
As of right now, it looked like Hagans would be lucky to get drafted. A team might take a chance in mid-to-late second round, but I’m sure John Calipari will use PJ Washington’s success as a plea to get Ashton back to school. Not to mention, there are other point guard success stories like Tyler Ulis and Isaiah Briscoe, one who worked his way into the first round and the other who’s currently on an NBA roster.
It might not be ideal, but the smartest move was for Ashton to return.