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John Calipari and Ashton Hagans comment on return to UK

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“He’s ready for the challenge, and I’m all in with him.”

Kansas v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Kentucky Wildcats waved goodbye to PJ Washington but then welcomed back Ashton Hagans, who will look to follow in PJ’s footsteps and have a breakout sophomore campaign in Lexington.

Hagans, who was UK’s starting point guard in 2018-19 and one of the best defenders in the country, announced he will be returning to UK next season to help lead what should be a preseason top-five team.

After coming up just one game shot of the Final Four as a freshman, Hagans is ready to take his game, and his team, to the next level.

“We had a great season this year but I want more,” Hagans said in a press release. “I know I’ve only scratched the surface with my game and there’s so much more I want to accomplish at Kentucky. Coach Cal and the staff have challenged me since day one, and I know with another season at UK we can chase some special things with the same mindset. I can’t wait to get back to work with my brothers.”

Hagans led the Wildcats in assists (160) and steals (61) as a freshman while starting in 30 of 37 games. Even had he left after one season, the Georgia native would have gone down as one of the best defensive players of the John Calipari era.

So as you can imagine, Coach Cal is thrilled at the prospect of getting Hagans for another year.

“I had a great meeting with Ashton,” Calipari said. “He had a wonderful season but he’s not satisfied. He said his desire was to come back and continue to grow and do some special things at Kentucky. That’s all I needed to hear. He’s ready for the challenge, and I’m all in with him.”

This is a great way to kick off the offseason for Kentucky.