Luke Hancock visits Louisville

Luke Hancock, a key member of George Mason's NCAA Tournament team, is exploring his options this spring after a coaching change and is strongly considering a transfer to Louisville after visiting Rick Pitino's program this week.

Luke Hancock, a key member of George Mason's NCAA Tournament team, is exploring his options this spring after a coaching change and is strongly considering a transfer to Louisville.

Hancock, who just finished up a visit to Louisville this week, told Thursday afternoon that Rick Pitino's Cardinals are a frontrunner in his recruitment.

"I enjoyed my visit to Louisville," Hancock said. "It's definitely up there on my list. Rick Pitino and Coach Keatts are great and everything. I was completely blown away [by the arena]. It was unreal, 22,000 every night. Even the practice facility and dorm was top-notch. Everything was premo there."

Though most of the players have gone home for a break following the end of the semester, Hancock did get to meet a couple of Pitino's players.

"I got to meet Swop [Jared Swopshire] and Rakeem Buckles, they were doing some rehab stuff," said Hancock. "I met Andre McGee, but only two players. They seemed like very cool guys that I could hang out with on and off the court. It was good."

The goal now for the 6-foot-5 forward is figuring out his next step.

"I'm going to get a list together in the next few days," Hancock said. "I just got home [from George Mason] today from finishing my final exams. So I'm going to take a day or two and talk with my parents and get a list together."

Hancock hasn't scheduled any other visits, but, "I have other teams on my list," Hancock said. "If I need to take more visits I would."

Whether Hancock feels the need to take other visits remains to be seen, but Louisville certainly made a strong impression.

"Coach [Pitino] thinks I'll be an impact player and can really help out the team creating a shot for myself and other people," said Hancock. "The sit out year will really help me because I'll get to learn from a guy like Kyle Kuric and step in and hopefully fill his role."

Louisville assistant Kevin Keatts, who coached Hancock at Hargrave, provides the Cardinals an edge in Hancock's recruitment.

"I have a Top 3 that I'll put out in the next several days and Louisville is in that," Hancock said. "Coach Keatts knows me and the things I do to help a team and knows that I'll go in there and work hard. I value his opinion a lot. He's never really been wrong as far as me and basketball. If he tells me something is going to work out in this situation he's somebody I trust."

Hancock, who led his team in assists and averaged 10.9 points as a sophomore, was a key member of a team that won 27 games and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Hancock nailed the game-winning three-pointer in the NCAA First Round against Big East member Villanova.

"Once Coach Larranaga and all the coaches left I felt like I need to open my recruitment," Hancock said. "I really like Coach Hewitt – he's a great guy – and I haven't ruled out staying at Mason, but I want to play the best every night. I don't want to have to wait until the NCAA Tournament to play Villanova and Ohio State. I want to play Kentucky, Villanova and Syracuse – I want to play those teams numerous times a year on the biggest stage."

While Virginia Tech and Virginia have both been speculated as options, the Roanoke, Va., native says that staying close to home won't be the key factor in his decision.

"I would go to Hawaii if it fit me and was the best situation," said Hancock. "[Plus], my brother lives in Louisville with his wife and daughter."

With an NCAA-mandated ‘dead-period' in effect, Hancock isn't sure if he'll visit other schools before making a decision.

"Sooner is better than later," Hancock said. "The dead period right now hurts because I can't take visits. It's good because I got to see Louisville and check the school out. Now I can sit down with my parents and decide what I want to do."

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