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With the Weight of the World on His Shoulders, Luke Hancock Powered Louisville Into the Title Game

He really hasn’t averaged much more than 8 points or so and 23 minutes per game all season. He’s recovered from health issues that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino believed would sideline him for the season.

And he’s coping with the reality that his father is dying. Yet, Luke Hancock is a huge reason why the Cardinals are playing for a national championship.

Now, that’s focus.

We all remember last week’s horrible injury to Kevin Ware. What we may have forgotten or not even noticed, for that matter, was that the Louisville small forward rushed to Ware’s side to calm him and pray with him. He is truly a team captain.

 

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

 

The Game of His Life

On Saturday, when it looked as if Wichita State was (easily) going to pull off the upset of the season and send U of L packing, Hancock turned it on and did things we’ve never seen him do. Yes, he could always be counted on to be in position and shoot the three when necessary. But here was Luke Hancock charging after rebounds and driving into the lane for layups. Were it not for this performance–perhaps the best of his career–and walk-on Tim Henderson’s out-of-nowhere back-to-back threes–the Cardinals would be back on campus today.

Uncommon Valor

Hancock, not wanting it to become a big story, says little about his father’s illness. But it’s surely what toughens this kid up day after day. And maybe I shouldn’t even call him a kid. You know, the Cardinals are fortunate to have him this season. Last year, Hancock suffered a separated shoulder during a pick-up game. It was an injury that required surgery and it was such a delicate situation, Coach Pitino wasn’t sure he’d be back for the year. It’s safe to say, that had he not returned, tonight’s national final would be between Michigan and Wichita State. Instead, we’ll see the Cardinals and the Wolverines vying to cut down the nets for the first time since the 1980s. And we’ll see a valiant young man named Luke Hancock playing for more, really,  than just a gold trophy.

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