ATHENS ― It appears that the uncertainty over the future for Mark Fox as Georgia men’s basketball coach has cost the team a top recruit ― at least for now.
Ashton Hagans, a 5-star point guard from Covington, Ga., de-committed from UGA on Monday. Covington is a member of the 2019 recruiting class, but he had been considering graduating early and arriving at Georgia as soon as next season.
UPDATE 4:50 p.m. ET: Hagans has also decided to reclassify and enter the 2018 recruiting cycle, according to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello.
Five-star point guard Ashton Hagans will reclassify into 2018.
It's a move he's been working toward and has been expected for months; Hagans decommitted from Georgia earlier today.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) February 26, 2018
The news comes as the Bulldogs enter the final week of the regular season and with Fox’s status a source of much speculation. Hagans and his coaches did not immediately return messages, but one person familiar with the situation tied the de-commitment to the uncertainty over Fox’s status.
“Just unsure of the situation,” the person said.
Hagans, listed at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, originally committed to Georgia ― and Fox ― in December. He is a junior at Newton High School plays for the Game Elite AAU squad.
The Bulldogs (16-12 overall, 7-9 in the SEC) have won three of their past four, but they will need to keep the strong finish going to make the NCAA Tournament.
This is Fox’s ninth season at Georgia, during which he has led the team to two NCAA appearances, going out in the first round each time. They have had five winning seasons; this will be the sixth.
Fox has two years remaining on his contract after this season, and Georgia would owe him just over $1 million if it bought him out after this year.
Georgia has signed two in-state players for the 2018-19 season: 4-star power forward Amanze Ngumezi from Savannah and 3-star swingman JoJo Toppin from Norcross.
Georgia also has a commitment from Elias King, a 6-foot-7 small forward who is rated the nation’s No. 55 prospect in the 2019 class.
Hagans is the second player to back off a Georgia commitment this school year. Landers Nolley, a 4-star prospect, committed to Georgia after visiting Athens last fall and de-commitment the next day. He signed with Virginia Tech.