Kentucky heard the critics that said they were falling behind on the recruiting trail and answered first with the commitment of five-star power forward EJ Montgomery on Monday, then nabbing the commitment of five-star guard Ashton Hagans on Tuesday. A member of the 2019 class that is expected to reclassify in the 2018 class and enroll this fall, Hagans is arguably the best perimeter defender in America and should be leaned upon for such an elite asset immediately.
"Kentucky has always been my dream school," Hagans said. "I love Coach (John) Calipari and I love the way that they prepare their players for college and the next level."
Formerly committed to the prior regime at Georgia, Hagans backed off of his pledge to the Bulldogs in March before hearing overtures from some of the very best along the east coast. However, once a Kentucky offer was given three weeks ago, all signs pointed towards an ultimate marriage between the blue blood and five-star guard.
A 6-foot-4 lead guard that is known first and foremost for his defensive prowess, Hagans should enable for his teammates to focus more on the offensive end, thus allowing to a more complete roster. The Wildcats will lose its top perimeter defender in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to the NBA Draft and the commitment and reclassification of Hagans for the Wildcats could not have come at a better time.
Older for his grade level, Hagans will turn 19 years old in June. He has begun to take the appropriate steps to attaining his high school diploma a year ahead of time so that he will have fulll eligibility to play for the Wildcats in the winter.
The fifth commitment for Kentucky and the third high school pledge since the beginning of March, all eyes will be on how Calipari aligns his rotation. He enrolls five-star lead guard Immanuel Quickley and scoring wings Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson this fall. Montgomery, a five-star power forward will join them, but how Hagans, Quickley and likely returner Quade Green mesh in the backcourt, will be the million dollar question.
Kentucky sits with the second ranked recruiting class in 2018 and could enter the 2018-2019 college basketball season with a number of first place votes in the national polls.