Pitino: New additions add length, experience

Rick Pitino introduced the two newest members to Louisville's program Tuesday morning – 6'4 Conyers, Ga., guard Kevin Ware and 6'5 George Mason transfer Luke Hancock.

Rick Pitino introduced the two newest members to Louisville's program Tuesday morning – 6'4 Conyers, Ga., guard Kevin Ware and 6'5 George Mason transfer Luke Hancock.

Ware, a Scout.com Top 100 prospect, signed with Tennessee, but re-opened his recruitment after Bruce Pearl, who compared the four-star guard to Boston Celtics star Rajon Rondo, was fired after the season. Ware then verbally committed to UCF, but announced his decision to attend Louisville after a recent visit.

Ware's addition was significant for Louisville. Not only can Ware play both guard positions, he also adds necessary length on the perimeter for Pitino's team.


"We're very excited to add two people to our already terrific recruiting class," Pitino said. "The one thing we did not have last year…was very good length. The guys that we're bringing in, and with the addition of Kevin Ware, and Wayne Blackshear, Angel Nunez and Chane Behanan, they have great length. Defensively, that [length] really helps a basketball team."

An excellent athlete, Pitino believes Ware is good fit for Louisville's pressing system, as well as fitting in with the Cardinals team-first, blue-collar attitude.

"Kevin, athletically, was somebody I loved this past summer but he already committed to Tennessee," Pitino said. "With his type of length and quickness we get somebody who can play multiple positions. He can give us size at the point guard spot and he's athletically exactly what we need for our press."

Like Blackshear, a 6'5 guard/forward from Chicago and a McDonalds All-American, Pitino is excited about the versatility Ware affords his program.

"You want to recruit players that can play multiple positions," Pitino said. "If you have length and the ability to play two positions, that's what Kevin will do. He fits in exactly with the type of attitude we have here."

Hancock, who played for UofL assistant Kevin Keatts at Hargrave Academy, opted to leave George Mason after Jim Larranaga left to become the new head coach at Miami. He led the team in assists and was third in scoring for a 27-win team that beat Villanova in the first round of the NCAA's.

"[Luke] epitomizes what you want in a basketball player," Pitino said. "The way the George Mason assistant characterized him is if you want somebody to make the inbounds pass to win a game, if you want somebody to make the play on the break or taking the shot it's Luke Hancock."

Hancock made the game-winning three-pointer against Villanova. Though he must sit out next season, Pitino believes Hancock can continue his successful history taking transfers – a list that includes Travis Ford, Mark Pope, Derek Anderson, David Padgett and Chris Smith.

"In crucial situations he plays like a point-forward," Pitino said. "He does outstanding things. He can play multiple positions. I've had great luck with transfers….that year sitting out is so valuable to learn the system."

Ware and Hancock, who will both be on scholarship for the 2011-12 season, forced Pitino to do some shuffling to his roster. Seniors Kyle Kuric and Chris Smith and sophomore Elijah Justice, who were all scholarship players last season, will move off scholarship and be walk-ons for the coming season.

"We've really added two quality basketball players," Pitino said. "We do a lot more in making sure these guys fit into the brand that we're building and they certainly do."


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