Georgia head coach Mark Fox during the Bulldogs' game against LSU Saturday Feb. 24, 2018, at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens.
Photo: Steffenie Burns/UGA Sports
Photo: Steffenie Burns/UGA Sports

A big UGA hoops commitment is no longer committed

This was almost inevitable. Ashton Hagans, a 5-star point guard from Covington, committed to Georgia in December. On Monday, he recanted on that pledge. If you were him, you probably would’ve, too. 

Hagans is a junior at Newton High. There’s thought that he’ll reclassify – skip a grade – to become college-eligible next season. Some reports Monday indicated that he already had decided to matriculate early. The Hagans camp clarified by saying he’s “still currently 2019.” Key word would seem to be “currently.” 

Hagans would have been – and could still be – Georgia’s first 5-star signee since Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in 2011. The past few years have seen the state’s biggest prospects head elsewhere. (Two of the nation’s best freshmen this season are Collin Sexton of Pebblebrook and Wendell Carter Jr. of Pace Academy. They play for Alabama and Duke, respectively.) 

Hagans was that rarity – a Georgia guy who apparently really wanted to play basketball at Georgia. His cousin is Trey Thompkins, who played two seasons under Mark Fox. Thing is, Fox might not be coaching the Bulldogs much longer, which is where the “almost inevitable” part arises. 

No 5-star recruit, especially one considering an even faster track, wants to play for a coach he doesn’t know. Nor does any big-time prospect want to commit to a rebuilding program, given that big-time prospects tend not to spend more than six months on a college campus. If you’re going to be a one-and-done, you’d rather not be the next Ben Simmons – a lottery pick whose college team missed the NCAA tournament. 

The rap on Fox has been that he didn’t recruit – and especially recruit Georgia – well enough. Now he gets a commitment from a major homegrown talent, and the commitment lasts two months. But who knows? Maybe his Bulldogs will go on a late, late tear and make the NCAA field and he’ll be back next season and Hagans will show up in Athens after all. Maybe, I said.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley
Mark Bradley
Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.