Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
Ashton Hagans has been receiving a lot of buzz lately about the effect he is projected to have on Kentucky next season. Recently, Andy Katz placed him at the top of the list of players in the SEC who will have the biggest impact next season.
Picking up on that theme, Jerry Tipton (pipe down, boo birds) of the Lexington Herald-Leader has a recent article with further exposition of Hagans’ importance. Quoted in the article, ESPN’s Jay Bilas called Hagans “among the two or three best on-ball defenders in the country” and “relentless.”
My recollection of Hagans performance is more of an arc than a plateau. He began rather slowly, splitting time at the point with Immanuel Quickley and, while a good defender, could hardly be characterized as “relentless.” But an eight-steal game against North Carolina followed by an amazing run of 11 games where he averaged close to three steals per game established him as one of the best on-ball defenders in the nation. That production on the defensive (and offensive) side dropped off dramatically in the second half of the SEC season as he hit the “freshman wall.”
Now we see frequent comparisons to the vast improvement of PJ Washington, and I think these are pretty apt. Hagans has showed similar flashes of ability, and like PJ last season, has a few glaring holes in his game to shore up, like perimeter shooting and the consistency that comes with confidence. I wouldn’t expect the fall-off in production in the later season next year, for example, like we saw in the just-completed season.
Hagans has shown flashes of extraordinary ability. Maturity often brings the confidence to consistently perform at a higher level, and it’s likely that Hagans will improve dramatically next season. He’ll have plenty of help in case of a stumble, though, which is a nice bonus.
Tweet of the Morning
Jay Bilas says Hagans' return to Kentucky right call. "Look how well it went for PJ Washington at the same school. That’s certainly a very good blueprint.” #BBN @BenRobertsHL @JerryTipton @markcstory @johnclayiv https://t.co/1FXYFC2eRe— Herald-Leader Sports (@KentuckySports) June 17, 2019
- Ashton Hagans describes he an Tyrese Maxey playing together as “a scary sight.”
- 2-round mock draft from Kyle Boone of CBS Sports. He has zero Kentucky players among the lottery picks
- With so few big men in the 2020 recruiting class, Dawson Garcia could be key to Kentucky’s success.
- Daishen Nix is “the best passer in high school basketball.” The 2020 point guard has Kentucky on his list.
- Why Virginia Tech grad transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. might pick UK – and why he might not. I’m going to go out on a limb and say we miss on Blackshear. There are just too many advantages to going elsewhere, and if Nick Richards finally reaches his potential, it will seriously impact Blackshear’s minutes.
Other Kentucky sports
Other sports news
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