UK’s Ashton Hagans declares for NBA Draft

Kentucky point guard Ashton Hagans has announced he is declaring for the NBA Draft.

Hagans made his decision known with a message on Twitter. Prospects have until 5 p.m. on June 15 to withdraw their names from the draft. While the point guard did say he’s “out for now” and would be “checking in soon,” he also mentioned how this is farewell.

“It’s been my number one goal since I first picked up a ball to take this step and I know my time is now,” Hagans wrote. “It’s so hard for me to say goodbye to the best fans in the world, because these last two years have been some of the best of my life.” 

In his sophomore season, the Georgia native demonstrated his defensive prowess by being named one of four finalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award. He also increased his scoring (11.5 points per game), assists (6.4 per game) and rebounding (3.9 rebounds per game), but did see a decrease in his field-goal and three-point percentages (40.4%, 25.8%).

Hagans missed the Wildcats’ final game against Florida due to what UK head coach John Calipari cited as personal reasons. Before the postseason was ultimately canceled, Calipari said the guard was back practicing with the team.

“When I chose to come back for my sophomore year, I had some goals in mind,” Hagans said. “First was to win a national championship. You know it’s killing me that we didn’t get the chance to compete for one this season, but I understand why we couldn’t. But, just know, we would have been right there.

“The second thing we did, which was to win an SEC championship. I also wanted to become a better all-around point guard. My coaches and my teammates really helped me improve and now I know I’m ready to take the next step.”

“From where he was when he got here two seasons ago to where he is now isn’t even close,” Calipari tweeted. “He’s a completely different player and he’s built his skills and his confidence to take that next step.”