Cool Hand Luke Hancock Ethers Cinderella

Luke Hancock might not have been on Louisville a year ago, but Cool Hand Luke — hitting treys like a young Kevin Love in Atlanta — has been making big plays since he got his first taste of D1 ball at George Mason.

He was recruited there out of Hargrave Military Academy by now-Miami coach Jim Larranga. Hancock saved George Mason's 15-game winning streak multiple times — including scoring eight of 11 points to spark a comeback against Northern Illinois — and culminated the year by sending Gus Johnson into orbit in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, ousting Villanova with the same stroke that methodically broke down Wichita State in the Final Four.


Big-time shooters have a habit of showing up in March. Steph Curry and Gerry McNamara made their names nailing jumpers from range. Whether Hancock is more Curry or McNamara in the future remains to be seen, but it's almost impossible to gauge in this talent-depleted Final Four. 

Consider, the one player in this game on Chad Ford's Big Board, Gorgiu Dieng, gave us zero points and four personal fouls. 

It wasn't like nobody showed up. Russ Smith kept Louisville steady —  while Wichita completely controlled the pace of the game — playing 36 minutes and scoring 21 points, depsite an uncharacteristic 5-12 from the charity stripe. The Shockers were led by Cleanthony Early, a strong favorite for Name of the Tournament, who scored 24, but their main weapon was a stringent 25 minute stretch without a turnover. Louisville was unable to get cheap points from their pressure defense as Wichita went through, around and over their press. The game began to wind down, and Louisville looked out of time.

That's when Hancock made his mark — and there wasn't anything Tim Tebow could do about it. He basically ran up and down the court and refused to lose. Hitting three-pointers, grabbing clutch boards, and doing everything his team needed. He took the game over and finished with 20, 4 and 2. All season Hancock has been playing his position as one of the several role players on Louisville’s team.

But on the biggest stage of his life, he played the biggest game of his life. Sorry, Cinderalla. Hancock has his own date with destiny.


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