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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / September 20.
  • Ashton Hagans graduates, signs with Kentucky for 2018-19 season

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    Already verbally committed to the University of Kentucky and now an early graduate out of high school, highly regarded point guard Ashton Hagans has decided to reclassify from the 2019 class to the 2018 class and has signed a financial aid agreement with UK.

    Hagans arrived on campus Sunday to begin summer classes this week and is expected to suit up for the Wildcats for the 2018-19 season.

    “So happy to see my dream of playing for Coach Cal and the Big Blue Nation come true,” Hagans said of signing with UK. “To follow the footsteps of all the great point guards that came before me is truly a blessing.”

    Kentucky’s 2018 signing class, which was already a consensus top-two class, is now packing a serious punch with the addition of Hagans. The playmaking guard brings UK’s 2018 haul to six players. In addition to Hagans, the Wildcats’ group of newcomers includes Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, EJ Montgomery, walk-on Zan Payne and Immanuel Quickley.

    All five scholarship signees are consensus four- or five-star prospects and all are ranked in the top 50 by the major national recruiting services.

    “Ashton wanted to be at Kentucky all along,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. “When I found out how badly he wanted this and had a chance to see him play, I told our staff what a great fit he would be whether he chose to come to school this season or next. Ashton wanted this so much that he worked extremely hard in the classroom these last few months to finish up his high school requirements and graduate this past week.

    “Now he comes here just a couple of weeks after the rest of our guys and is ready to join this group. He can do a little bit of everything, but what separates him from his peers is his playmaking ability and leadership. You’re talking about someone who other people want to play with. I’m looking forward to seeing him get to work with the rest of our guys.”

    Hagans, out of Newton High School in Covington, Georgia, was shaping up to be one of the top high school talents in the country next season but decided to forego his final year of eligibility and graduated just a few days ago.

    Despite giving up a year of high school ball, he’ll still come to Kentucky plenty decorated. He swept the major awards in the highly competitive basketball state of Georgia, winning both the Gatorade Georgia Player of the Year and Mr. Georgia Basketball, awarded by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club to the top player in the state.

    Hagans averaged 20.2 points, 10.7 assists, 7.6 rebounds and 3.6 steals while leading Newton to the 7A state semifinals.

    Widely regarded as one of the top two-way players in high school regardless of class, Hagans was tabbed the No. 7 player overall and the second-ranked point guard in Rivals’ class of 2019 before reclassifying. ESPN ranked him at No. 17 overall in the class of 2019. He’s a consensus five-star recruit.

    At 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, Hagans has elite size for the point and possesses great lead-guard skills. With a solid burst off the floor and good passing ability, he’s considered a playmaker. He is also considered a solid defender with the potential to get even better because of his length.

    Kentucky now has multiple point guards for this season with Quickley and Hagans joining returning sophomore Quade Green. 

    “We’re going to have a lot of guards,” Green said this week. “We’re going to have a lot of guards that can dribble, shoot, so they won’t be crowding up on you on the paint. Everybody can spread out.”

    Photo: Tipton Edits

    Release: UK Athletics
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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.