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Will Luke Hancock Be the Key to the Louisville Cardinals' Success in 2012-13?

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 18: Luke Hancock #14 of the George Mason Patriots brings the ball up court against the Villanova Wildcats during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 18, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Jon HancockSenior Analyst IOctober 17, 2012

When Luke Hancock decided to transfer to Louisville in May of 2011 from George Mason University, many Cardinal fans wondered why Rick Pitino would waste a scholarship on a kid from the Colonial Athletic Association.

Hancock averaged 10.9 points and 4.2 rebounds two years ago as a sophomore for the Patriots. He had a short time in the national spotlight when he hit the game winning shot against Villanova in the second round of the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Since arriving at the University of Louisville, Hancock has impressed the coaching staff and his teammates. He was voted co-captain this year along with senior point guard Peyton Siva.

When Hancock transferred, Rick Pitino said that he called Jim Larranaga—who was Hancock's coach at George Mason and is now the head coach at Miami—to ask him what kind of player he was getting.

Pitino said Larranga told him, "With five seconds to go in the game, if you have to get the ball inbounds against a press, have him inbound it. If you need somebody to take a shot, have him take the shot. If you need somebody to make the play, have him make the play. If you need a steal or rebound, he'll make it."

Hancock seems to be what the Cardinal need to be successful. They have a great point guard in Peyton Siva, a terrific center in Gorgui Dieng and depth in all positions. Hancock has something that not too many players in college possess—a high basketball IQ.

"I try to go all out all the time," Hancock told C.L. Brown of the Courier Journal. "I feel like my defense has gotten better. I can definitely shoot the ball better than I was and kind of be a utility guy, take care of the little things on the court. I can pass, I can get in the lane. I can do a little bit of everything."

His ability to make things easier for his teammates has quickly made him one of the most beloved players on the team.

Junior guard Russ Smith said of Hancock, "He makes everyone better, he gets guys involved and he is a great shooter."

Gorgui Dieng told C.L. Brown of the Courier Journal during the Big East media day, “Luke is going to have a big impact. He’s a good basketball player. He makes the game easier for us inside.”

Hancock will play mostly the wing this year, but Pitino is also planning on having him play some at the point guard position. He is also the most consistent three-point shooter on the team.  

Louisville is projected to win the Big East conference and has a great chance at winning the national championship. With all the talent on the Cardinals roster, Hancock may be the one player teams have the biggest issue preparing for.

 

Jon Hancock is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.

You can follow Jon on Twitter @JonKYSportsCo

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