Josh Hagins(GS Iraklis Thessaloniki ) Wants To Be That Player That Can Excel In Every Basketball Environment

There are so many players that are balling overseas that will return home after a long career and have no chips to show for. Winning a title isn´t a simple endeavor at any level so when one does win, one should never take it for granted. Some guys have the fortune to win titles quickly and one of those guys has been Josh Hagins. After playing briefly in Bosnia and in the G-League in his first two professional seasons, he came back overseas in 2018 and played with Keravnos Strovolou (Cyprus-Division A) winning three titles in his two year span. It is no secret that a big key for being able to win titles has to do with the type of teammates that one has. That was never more evident with the type of supporting cast that Hagins had including talented veterans like Amaad Rorie, Keaton Grant and Willie Kemp. Having been able to have the right kind of veterans was instrumental in his development as a player in Cyprus. “You can get veterans that are at end of career and don´t care or get vets that do it the right way. I was lucky to have been teammates with vets that cared. There were guys there that were past their peak, but were still doing it the right way. I was really thankful for the situation that I could soak up so much from the, Those two years in Cyprus helped me get to where I am today”, stressed Josh Hagins.  But the list doesn´t end there as he also had another guy with big man With Anthony King who learned his trade at Miami(NCAA) and at age 36 is still playing today. When he played in Germany, he came over as a quiet guy, but he has another side where any player can benefit from him. “He is quiet if you don´t know him. He didn´t always say so much, but when he did he did at the right time. I remember whenever I was frustrated with something, he would pull me to the side and say that it is part of the grind. His experience helped me  a lot and he helped me get hunger for the game. For him to still be playing at his age and still have the energy to help the younger guys is something where you can´t ask for more”, stressed Josh Hagins. Hagins is a player that still has many more years in front of him that wants to excel in every environment that he is confronted with.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Josh Hagins in Frankfurt, Germany in 2021

            Josh Hagins was born on March 17th, 1994 in Washington DC.He began his basketball career at  Airline High School in Louisiana helping the school to 3 district titles and was an All-State selection during his time there. He led the Vikings to a 24-9 record being a two time distract champion. He then enrolled at University of Arkansas at Little Rock (NCAA) where he played a total of 124 NCAA games from 2012-2016. IN his freshman season he played 31 games averaging  8.1ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 77.0%. He scored in double figures in 13 games and had LA Lafayette numbers twice scoring 14 points a piece. He started 12 games, was third in scoring and first in assists. In his sophomore season he played 28 games averaging  12.1ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.8apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 43.0%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 79.7%. He led the team in assists again, was second in scoring and third in rebounds. He also was a All-Sun Belt 3rd Team selection.  In his junior season he played 31 games averaging 12.0ppg, 3.9rpg, 3.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 82.4%. He led the team in scoring and assists and scored in double figures in 20 games including 28 points against Alabama State and had 23 points against S Alabama. In his senior year he played 34 games averaging  13.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.8apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 84.0%. Once again he led the club in points and assists and also was Sun Belt Regular Season Champion, Sun Belt Tournament Winner, All-Sun Belt 1st Team, Sun Belt All-Tournament Team -16 and NABC All-District 24 1st Team.he scored in double figures in 25 games. On paper he put up solid stats including averaging double figures in scoring in his last three years, but the whole basketball experience was a huge challenge at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. “I didn´t need validation from others to be Josh Hagins. I took a lot of criticism, because I didn´t do things a certain way. At the end of the day I was able to be myself. I learned that having self-confidence was key for success. Great coaches help you win, but it´s the players that have to make the plays in the clutch. In my first three years, I didn´t understand that I had to do something different to help the team win. I learned that there were times where I had to do things that I necessarily wouldn´t have agreed with, but it was necessary to do for the team to be successful”, remembered Josh Hagins.

            His most memorable experience at Little Rock was helping beat Purdue at the big dance in 2016 with a sizzling 31 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals in the 85-83 double OT win. Even today he can´t refrain from watching his heroics as he tied the game to send it into overtime. “I typically watch that game two to three times a year I like to sit back and enjoy that moment. It was huge for our school winning that game”, said Josh Hagins. In that game he also set a record as he is only the third player to score 30 plus points in the NCAA tournament against Purdue as in incredible company with NBA legends Isiah Thomas and Kareen Abdul Jabbar. “It is very humbling to be mentioned with guys like that. It is a specific stat and you don´t really know how many teams have played Purdue, but I appreciate being mentioned in the same sentence with those guys”, expressed Josh Hagins. It wasn´t always easy for him to do exactly what he wanted to on the court, but he still was able to profit from the coaching staff. Head coach Steve Shields and assistant coach Joe Klein who had a long NBA career were instrumental in his development. “Coach Shields help me be confident. We didn´t always see eye to eye, but at the end of the day, I was willing to take a chance and didn´t play it safe. I had to take risks while staying confident. You always profit when a guy like Joe Kleine played with Michael Jordan. I will always remember his energy. Every time he said something, it always hit home. He helped me with little things like how to feed the big man in the post, pocket passes and hand offs”, stated Josh Hagins.

            The American who remembers battling his Little Rock teammate Marcus Johnson´s heart and fierce competitiveness on a consistent basis in practice had his first brush of being a professional in the summer of 2016 where he had numerous NBA Draft Workouts with the Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, and Boston Celtics.He then played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Sacramento Kings) playing 4 games averaging  3.0ppg, 2.0rpg. Getting that early experience with NBA clubs was priceless as well as the advice he got from ex Los Angeles Laker Vlade Divac. “I did well during the Kings work out. He told me that getting to the NBA has a lot to do with timing and luck. He also said that no matter what happens, there can be many different type of scenario´s where a player can reach the NBA. He said just keep grinding and enjoy the process”, added Josh Hagins. The American began his professional career overseas with KK Bosna-Royal Sarajevo (Bosnia-Division I) playing 9 games averaging 11.3ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.7apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 45.0%, 3FGP: 25.7%, FT: 77.8%. Coming overseas isn´t always easy for an American especially when you had hardly ever seen snow. “I remember my first day in Bosnia. I had just arrived and was walking to the gym with my coach. I had maybe seen snow 2-3 times in my then 22 years. In Bosnia it was snowing and there was something like 5-6 inches on the ground. I had a light jacket on and wasn´t prepared for snow. Then when I got to the gym, there were two courts inside with something like seven sports teams using the courts. There was something like 80 people in the gym and everybody was staring at me. Then I remember going back to the apartment and it took me 10 minutes to open the door. That was my wake up call to being overseas for the first time”, stressed Josh Hagins. He had some good games in Bosnia including hitting Kakanj for 22 points and scored 16 points against Siroki Primorka. But his first stop as a rookie was short as he returned back to the States around Christmas and then finished the season in the G-League with Maine playing 21 games averaging 4,4ppg, 2,5rpg and 2,5apg. Coming to a new team during mid season is never an easy task. “Maine was a humbling experience. It was the first time in my life where I didn´t play so much and it was frustrating. It was my first time in the G-League and I had no idea how it worked. It is tough to come in and expect to paly 25 minutes right away. The whole experience just taught me to always be ready and to understand that there are  a lot of players in the world. I just knew that my time would come”, remembered Josh Hagins. He had some fine games in his first G-League tour of duty hitting Delaware for 18 points, 7 boards and 7 dimes and had 17 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists against Westchester.

In his second professional season, the American who lists NBA player Elfrid Payton of the New York Knicks as his most difficult opponent in the NCAA who was an unbelievable driver to the rim, but could also defend  remained home and played with the  Reno Bighorns (NBA G League) playing 41 games averaging 8.4ppg, 3.2rpg, 3.9apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 46.7%, 3PT: 38.7%, FT: 88.1%. His minutes increased only from 14 to 19, but he was very efficient with the amount of time that he got. Of course every guy that balls in the G-League has that NBA dream and it isn´t any different for the American. Having that great team feeling isn´t so prevalent in the G-League, but Hagins had real joy playing with reno. “This was one of my favorite teams. For many guys in the G-League, team success isn´t on the forefront. Many guys just want to score 15-20 points. I was on a team where every guy wanted to win”, stated Josh Hagins. You have to wonder what his stats would have looked like had he played something like 32-33 minutes a game? Would an NBA call up been more realistic? “There is a lot of NBA talent in the G-League, but there only so many spots. You can only control what you can control. Who knows if I would have had a better shot at the NBA if I had averaged 33 minutes. I want to reach the NBA, but I can´t wonder about it. I enjoy the game, but have to remain in the now. I want to be successful with Bonn and get them to the playoffs”, warned Josh Hagins. He had some solid games scoring 20 points against Iowa and had 18 points a piece against N Arizona and Santa Cruz. He was lucky that he could call reno his home, because often guys will live in many places during one season. “There is so much player movement. I saw some guys play in one place one week and then were somewhere else the next week. Some guys played for 3-4 teams in the season. It´s all about finding the right solution and it´s not about being loyal”, warned Josh Hagins. Another aspect that made his one season stay with Reno so memorable was being able to be teammates with ex UConn great and 2004 NCAA champion and ex NBA player Marcus Williams. “He is one of my favorite teammates. He wasn´t just a great player, but was just a funny dude. I tried to soak up as much as possible each day. In practice I would pick him up full court and just see what he would do in pressure situations. He always answered my questions. He didn´t say too much, but when he did, it always held weight”, said Josh Hagins.

He played his third and fourth professional seasons in Cyprus winning three titles with Keravnos Strovolou (Cyprus-Division A). In his first season he played 30 games averaging 12.7ppg, 4.4rpg, Assists-3(5.2apg), Steals-5(1.5spg), FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT:79,9 and in his second season played 21 games averaging  14.0ppg, 5.8rpg, Assists-1(5.6apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT-2(50.0%), FT-7(90.5%). He also played 8 Fiba Europe Cup games and 4 Basketball Champions League games displaying his consistency filling up the stat sheet like no other. He played a total of 51 Cyprus- Division A games and scored in double figures in 37 games. His best games included 28 points against Apoel, 25 points against Etha and 22 points against AEK Larnaca. Not only does the American remember Anthony King with a lot of fondness, but also ex  Wichita State University (NCAA)standout Darral Willis who is balling in France this season with Monacco. Hagins already saw the potential of Willis two seasons ago. “He began the game very late. I could see his rapid growth already in his rookie year. He has a motor that is hard to match. As soon as he continues picking up teams concepts with his mix of his motor, rebounding and finishing, I think he could be an NBA or Euroleague player”, warned Josh Hagins.

Now let´s fast forward to 2021. The American who last watched the movie Grown Ups began his fifth professional season with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. The club has been struggling and it has been a totally new experience for him coming from his winning ways in Cyprus. “It definitely has been an adjustment. I understand what it takes to win at the next level. It is important to be focused on every possession”, warned Josh Hagins. The club has been up and down starting the season with a five game losing streak, then winning three of four and then having another losing streak. What really has been annoying is their inability to finish games. They have lost five games by six or less points and has affected the team mentality. “It has been very frustrating. We have had games where we had the lead at the end, but that’s part of the process. We definitely have a better team then what our record shows. It´s all about finding that light that will light the fire. We will find it. With every new loss, we tend to think too much about it instead of just playing. We can´t be so hesitant at the end, but be more free”, stressed Josh Hagins. In the meantime the Telekom Baskets Bonn removed head coach Igor Jovovic and brought back American Will Voigt who had already been on board last season. “We have been doing some things different now. Our spacing is different and we have better communication. Coach Voigt has stressed that now with no fans in the arena´s. it´s all about how loud you can be. The louder teams win. We have brought the communication level up and that has translated over on to the court”, warned Josh Hagins. Every season the American is enriched with new teammates and this season has been positively affected by ex Boston Celtic Chris Babb and Telekom Baskets Bon lifer TJ DiLeo. “The way Chris carries himself has impressed me. He is a real professional and great leader. He has been places where I want to get to. I try to imitate him and add my flavor. I love TJ´s effort. He is one of those guys that knows exactly what he can control. He has worked harder than most guys to get to where he is today. He is always so positive and no matter what is happening always keeps the team together. He doesn´t let us give up”, warned Josh Hagins.

TheAmerican who list his personal NBA Mount Rushmore with guys like Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Magic Johnson likes to compare his game to NBA player Nate Robinson. He plays with a lot of energy and is animated like Robinson is. When Hagins is playing well, he is always talking. His energy and passion brings that needed confidence to his team. He has needed no adjustment period in the easyCredit BBL as he has been able to translate his game to the higher BBL level. “Cyprus didn´t have big or athletic guys like the BBL, so I couldn´t rely on pure talent. I needed to bring that special level of energy and that has helped me in the BBL”, stressed Josh Hagins. He has always been known as being a very solid shooter, but took the next step last season to being over 40% in the Cyprus and Basketball Champions League. It is only obvious that he wants to be able to become that lethal consistent shooter. 2I work on my shot each day and don´t think about %. It´s all about preparation. I do take tough shots and know that my % will waver, but shooting is just one part of my game. I take pride in doing a little bit of all well”, stated Josh Hagins. The American continues to have big dreams, but in order to get there knows that grinding in the lab is part of the process of improving and moving up the basketball ladder. “I need to become more physical. I want to be strong on screens as well as being able to defend bigger guards in the post. I just want to get better on a daily basis and be good in every environment”, warned Josh Hagins. The American has left the Telekom Baskets Bonn for Greece to team GS Iraklis Thessaloniki. He has proven that he can survive in a new basketball environment as he is currently averaging 18,2ppg, 3,4rpg, 4,8apg, 1,0spg and is shooting a strong 50% from outside. In his last game against AEK, he produced 32 points. No matter where his basketball journey takes him, he will continue to work hard to be able to shine in every basketball environment. And if he needs some advice, he will always have guys like Marcus Williams and Anthony King there to support him as he tries to make his basketball dreams reality in the future.

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