Just last month, Andy Katz of NCAA.com released a list of the most important players in the SEC.
Ashton Hagans was No. 1 on that list, as he has the ability to elevate his game and lead his team to a national title. On Monday, Katz began announcing his top 25 players in the country, and Hagans checked in at No. 23.
This week, @TheAndyKatz is releasing his Top 25 College Basketball Players for 2019-20!— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) July 8, 2019
Let’s get it started:
25. Isaiah Stewart, @UW_MBB
24. Andrew Nembhard, @GatorsMBK
23. Ashton Hagans, @KentuckyMBB
22. Ayo Dosunmu, @IlliniMBB
21. Killian Tillie, @ZagMBB pic.twitter.com/2Asm4bTie6
This is what Katz had to say about Hagans when he put out the SEC list:
“The Wildcats have a rare returning point guard and that’s why Kentucky is one of the teams projected to go on a Final Four run. Hagans emerged as the leader midway through the season and embraced the role. His numbers in all areas should increase, and as long as turnovers don’t as well, Kentucky will have the lead guard it needs to shepherd in another elite recruiting class.”
Hagans took over the starting point guard role eight games into last season, and he went on to average 7.7 points, 4.3 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He had a few dominant performances, including a dismantling of North Carolina’s Coby White, who went on to be a No. 7 overall draft selection.
Hagans took a few steps back toward the end of the season, turning the ball over more and not being as locked-in defensively. While the timing is unfortunate, it highlighted the fact that he still has room to grow and improve.
Hagans has the ability to be a leader for this talented team and carry them deep into the tournament. If he ends the season ranked higher than he is right now on Andy Katz’s list, then I expect the Wildcats to have one heck of a year.