By Jon Rothstein
Luke Hancock’s knack for making big shots was on display well before he transferred to Louisville.
In 2011, Hancock played for George Mason and knocked down a late three-pointer to beat Villanova in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The stage was big, but Hancock wanted more.
He craved something bigger.
He finally got it last night.
Trailing by 12 late in the first half against Michigan in the national title game, Hancock single-handedly propelled Louisville back to within striking distance. The stone cold wing knocked down four three-pointers in the first half, and got the Cardinals to within a single point of the Wolverines at half time.
Hancock finished with 22 points and he only took six shots.
Louisville finished with a national championship.
“These are the 13 toughest guys I’ve ever coached,” said Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who became the first coach in history to win titles at two different schools.
But the toughest guy of the bunch is Hancock.
Peyton Siva was the heart of this team, but the feisty senior point guard doesn’t have Hancock’s ability to make big shots.
Chane Behanan tallied a double-double (15 points, 12 rebounds), and was relentless on the backboards, but he doesn’t have Hancock’s consistency.
The former George Mason wing was named a co-captain for Louisville before he ever played a game for the Cardinals.
He’s a special player that continues to play special in big situations.
The NCAA Tournament is about providing a forum for student athletes to leave a mark.
That’s just what Hancock did over the last two games.
By winning Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four, Hancock now has a seat at the table alongside college basketball royalty.
Pitino has called his crafty wing “Cool Hand Luke.”
After a performance like this, who could really blame him?
Your thoughts on the NCAA title game? Sound off in the comments!