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Ashton Hagans named Naismith Defensive Player of the Year finalist

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It’s now a four-man race.

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a rocky ending to his sophomore season, Ashton Hagans still has a chance to earn one of college basketball’s highest honors.

Monday, the Kentucky Wildcats point guard was named one of four finalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year.

Hagans joins Kansas Jayhawks wing Marcus Garrett, Duke Blue Devils point guard Tre Jones and Baylor Bears shooting guard Mark Vital.

As a sophomore, Hagans averaged 11.5 points, 6.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals. Throughout the season, he continued to earn his reputation as one of the games’ best on-ball defenders and as a player who can pick anyone’s pocket at any given moment.

If he were to win the award, Hagans would add a second high defensive honor, as in 2019, he was named SEC Co-defensive player of the year.

The winner of the award will be announced April 1 by the Atlanta Tipoff Club and be honored at a ceremony at a later date.