They say life in professional basketball is about staying ready, so when an opportunity arises, you don’t have to spend any time getting ready. Needless to say, point guard Ashton Hagans has wasted absolutely zero time taking advantage of his current stint with the Greensboro Swarm.
Signed to a hardship contract this past Monday afternoon, Hagans took the floor for the Swarm a few hours later in Bridgeport, CT and proceeded to record 15 points, a career-high 10 rebounds and an eye-popping 22 assists in a 130-87 victory over the Westchester Knicks. His assists total smashed the previous Greensboro record, tied the second-highest single-game total in G League history and was the most ever in a triple-double performance by a G League player.
One night later, he poured in a career-high 30 points on 10-of-20 shooting, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals against the Knicks, giving him two-game averages of 22.5 points on 51.6% shooting, 8.5 rebounds, 13.5 assists and 3.0 steals so far with the Swarm.
Larry Drew II currently holds the NBA G League’s single-game assist record with 23 while playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in a game on Dec. 25, 2014. Besides Hagans, two other players have also recorded 22 assists in a game: Josh Magette of the South Bay Lakers on March 19, 2016 and the Idaho Stampede’s Randy Livingston on Dec. 26, 2007. Julyan Stone and Joe Chealey co-held the Swarm record with 14, set on Dec. 8, 2017 and Jan. 14, 2022, respectively.
Hagans’ seemingly out-of-nowhere performances are even more impressive given that he had recently been waived by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants after appearing in one game earlier this season. A former teammate of current Hornets PJ Washington and Nick Richards at the University of Kentucky, Hagans went undrafted in 2020, despite being named the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year one year earlier.
After making two appearances for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2020-21 campaign, Hagans spent all of last season playing for Raptors 905 in the G League. His rights were traded to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers this past October 22 and 10 days later, he was placed on waivers and claimed by Fort Wayne, where he spent two days before getting released again.
To a certain degree, what Hagans has accomplished during his short tenure with the Swarm is somewhat unexplainable. Players usually don’t sign with teams the day of and then without practicing at all, go out and do what Hagans did against the Knicks – it just doesn’t happen. It’s a testament to not only Hagans’ preparation and abilities, but also the Greensboro Swarm organization for putting him in position to capitalize on some rather unusual circumstances.