I think most people would agree that the way Ashton Hagans’ career ended at Kentucky was not ideal.
The sophomore point guard didn’t travel to Gainesville for the last game of the year and then, boom, just like that, the 2019-2020 season was abruptly over.
His time in Lexington was filled with ups and down, but ultimately, the way he would have been remembered should’ve been determined in postseason play. That opportunity was stripped from Hagans —leaving his legacy in somewhat of a cloudy state.
Though it didn’t end on the best of terms, you can’t discredit the tenacity that Hagans brought game in and game out.
It’s great to know that there doesn’t seem to be one ounce of bad blood between him and Coach Calipari.
On Wednesday, Hagans celebrated his 21st birthday and was met with warm wishes from his former coach.
“Happy Birthday to @H23Ash!!! One of the toughest kids we’ve ever had. I know if I’m going to battle, I’m taking Ash with me!!!” Coach Cal tweeted.
Hagans responded by quoting the tweet and saying “ G.O.A.T TALK!! Love you forever!! Best decision of my life was playing for you. Thank you for everything coach.”
G.O.A.T. TALK!! Love you forever!! Best decision in my life was playing for you. Thank you for everything coach https://t.co/WUULCXTAPr— ashton hagans (@H23Ash) July 8, 2020
No matter what sport you play, you know that some of the highest praise that you can get from your head coach is labeling you as a tough battle-worthy player. Especially when that praise comes from a hall of fame coach like John Calipari. To label him as one of the toughest kids the program has ever had under his leadership is a heck of a compliment.
Fans clearly have overall mixed opinions on Hagans, but there is no denying that the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament put somewhat of a tarnish on his career at UK. Had he had the chance to redeem himself by playing well in March, not many people would even remember the last few rather meaningless games of the regular season.
Hagans now turns his motivation to preparing for the NBA draft and playing professional basketball.
The Big Blue Nation will surely wish him well and appreciate the kind words exchanged with Coach Cal.
21 years of life...God thank you for letting me reach limits nobody thought I could reach, Thank you for surrounding me with greatness, Thank you for making me grind to get to where I am, Thank you for letting me prove all my doubters wrong... God Thank you for Life. #Dreamchasin pic.twitter.com/diGnLreL8X— ashton hagans (@H23Ash) July 8, 2020