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Kentucky’s John Calipari full press convention after win over Texas A&M
Matt Stone, Louisville Courier Journal

LEXINGTON, Ky. — As John Calipari continues to work to deal with inconsistencies from his Kentucky basketball staff, the Wildcats seem to have discovered no less than one constant.

Ashton Hagans.

The freshman level guard is averaging 12 points, four.3 assists and 4.8 steals per recreation in his final four video games. His offensive skillset continues to evolve as evidenced by a season-high 18 factors on four-of-6 capturing towards Texas A&M Tuesday, however his defense has already reached elite ranges.

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So, maybe it ought to come as no shock that former UK great and NBA government Rex Chapman sees the potential for greatness in Hagans.

“Ashton Hagans has the potential to be the perfect on-ball defender to ever put on a Kentucky basketball uniform,” Chapman tweeted through the Texas A&M recreation.

Whether or not Hagans sticks around Lexington long enough to see that improvement occur in school is a official query given the one-and-completed nature of Calipari’s program, however whilst a freshman Hagans appears to have the potential to submit one of the better defensive seasons from a UK guard in in current memory.

What’s working for the Georgia native?

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“He anticipates,” Calipari stated. “We’ve got guys that when their man catches it, they begin enjoying. He is enjoying before his man catches it, and if he sees a chance to go after a ball, he does. If he sees a chance to deny his man the ball, his man does not get the ball.

“If another guys deny the ball, sooner or later, they may let go and the guy will catch it. He just says, ‘You aren’t catching it until they throw it to anyone else.’”

It’s harder to measure defensive impression with statistics than scoring or assists, but Hagans ranks second in the SEC in steals and is already on pace to develop into just the ninth player in program historical past to average no less than two steals per recreation. Ought to his current production proceed, Hagans has an opportunity to problem Rajon Rondo’s single-season steals report (87) if Kentucky makes a deep NCAA Event run. Hagans has already tied the only-recreation report with eight steals towards North Carolina in December.

Hagans ranks 13th in the country in steal price (steals per defensive possessions) based on KenPom.com at 5.1 %, regardless of recording greater than two steals in a recreation just as soon as in an inconsistent first 10 video games as a Wildcat. His 6.eight % steal price in convention games is greatest within the nation.

Read extra: What we discovered from Kentucky basketball’s win over Texas A&M

Kentucky has steals data courting back to the 1978-seventy nine…