According to Jake Weingarten and Shams Charania, the Minnesota Timberwolves are signing Hagans as an undrafted free agent, likely being a two-way deal. He’ll team up with former Wildcats Karl-Anthony Towns and Jarred Vanderbilt.
Source to @Stockrisers: The Minnesota Timberwolves will sign Kentucky guard Ashton Hagans as an undrafted free agent. This is a very nice pickup and they eyed him during the draft.— Jake (@jakeweingarten) November 19, 2020
Two-way players get to spend time in the G-League and still play in NBA regular-season games. You can read more about two-way contracts here.
A 6-3 guard out of Georgia, Hagans averaged 11.5 points, 6.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game last season as a sophomore. He was named the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 and made the SEC All-Defensive Team in 2020. He was also one of four finalists for the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year.
“Ashton is ready for this,” UK head coach John Calipari said when Hagans declared for the draft. “From where he was when he got here two seasons ago to where he is now isn’t even close. He’s a completely different player and he’s built his skills and his confidence to take that next step.
“We know what Ashton can do to change the game defensively and how much better he got offensively, but what’s going to separate him is his competitiveness. That kid is a winner. His competitive spirit drives him and is why I love him. If I’m going to battle, I’m taking Ashton.
“I wish we could have had the opportunity to chase his goals of a championship this season but I’m so proud of who Ashton has become. I’m happy for him and his family and will be behind them the entire way.”
Hagans played in 67 career games for Kentucky with 59 starts. After starting off his career as a reserve, he broke through with an unforgettable defensive performance vs. North Carolina in December 2018. Hagans tied the single-game school record with eight steals while shutting down eventual NBA Draft first-round pick Coby White in the victory. Hagans would go on to score in double figures in 13 of the final 26 games to end his freshman campaign.
As a sophomore, Hagans reached double-figure scoring in 20 games, including a career-high 26-point performance in the win over Utah Valley. He dished out 3+ assists in every game he played and recorded 5+ in 22 outings, including a career-high-tying 12 vs. UAB. His streak of 10 games with six or more assists midway through the season was the best run by a Wildcat since Roger Harden dished six or more in 12 straight in 1986.
With 351 career dimes, Hagans ranks 12th in program history in assists. His 5.24 career assist average ranks fourth in the school record book. With 119 steals in 67 career games, Hagans averaged 1.776 steals per game for his career. That rate is third all-time in program history, trailing only Rajon Rondo and Derek Anderson.
Hagans will now look to carve out a long pro career beginning in Minnesota, and he’ll get to do so with several experienced Cats by his side.