A 6'6 small forward, Hancock transferred to Louisville last summer after George Mason coach Jim Larranaga left for Miami. Though he's sitting out this year because of NCAA transfer rules, Hancock has impressed his new coach.
"Luke Hancock has been great this year," Pitino said. "He's our best basketball player. He's mentally the best player on the team and physically the best player on the team. He's a true basketball player in every sense of the word."
Hancock was a key reason George Mason won the Colonial League last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Hancock, most famous for hitting the game-winning shot against Villanova in the NCAA Tournament first round, was George Mason's assist leader and a major facilitator for their highly efficient offense.
"He doesn't jump overly high, but he dunks with ease," Pitino said. "He does't shoot it great, but he scores at will. He's handles it, he passes it, he rebounds."
"(Larranaga) said to me, if you're down one and you're inbounding the ball underneath, you want Hancock making the pass," Pitino said. "He also said if you're up one you want him with the ball to get fouled. He's the one you want to take the last second shot like the one he made against Villanova in the NCAA Tournament."
Pitino said Hancock emulates the other team's best player in practice, most recently Pittsburgh's Ashton Gibbs.
"He's been great for us this year," Pitino said. "Most redshirts don't play as much as Luke Hancock but because of our injury's he's been able to play in most of our practices."
"I really haven't coached anybody like him. He's so different than anybody (I've ever coached). He's got a gigantic chip on his shoulder. I say that in a very positive way. Jim Larranga told me he was very upset big-time schools didn't (recruit) him."
Next season, Hancock will get his chance to play for one of the nation's top programs in college basketball's best conference.