The news of George Mason guard Luke Hancock's decision to transfer from the school isn't the biggest news story of the week, nor is it the most surprising. Transfers from mid-majors to high-majors aren't all that uncommon; transfers in the wake of a coaching change -- after Paul Hewitt replaced Jim Larranaga, who took the vacant job at Miami -- are even less so.
That's why the reaction to Hancock's decision to transfer to Louisville -- it was reported by the AP in a brief three-sentence story Saturday -- felt so muted. But it shouldn't be. Hancock's decision is tantamount to a solid 2012 recruit deciding to attend Louisville. This is a bigger deal than you think.
That's because Hancock's minimal profile -- if you know the name, it's probably because you recognize him as the guy who downed Villanova at the buzzer in the NCAA tournament -- belies his ability on the court. The efficiency numbers tell a different tale. Hancock is a very good shooter who gets to the free throw line frequently, and his assist rate of 29.6 in 2010-11 demonstrates just how good of a distributor he is with solid players around him. He was a major reason George Mason's offense was so efficient, and therefore a major reason the Patriots made their impressive run to the top of the Colonial last season.
He can shoot and pass -- perfect for Rick Pitino's high-octane offense -- and he'll be doing so alongside some combination of Louisville's talented incoming recruits, guyssuch as Chase Behanan and Wayne Blackshear (assuming neither player leaves for the NBA after one season, which doesn't seem likely in either case). The addition also helps make up for the loss of shooting guard Rodney Purvis, the No. 10-ranked player in the class of 2012, who recently withdrew his commitment from Louisville after assistant coach Tim Fuller took his talents to Missouri.
It'd be silly to overstate this case; this isn't a program-defining get for Louisville. Hancock isn't going to take the Big East by storm. But it's clear that he can play and succeed at the highest level in college hoops, and his accomplishments on the court at Mason probably didn't get enough attention these past few months. Admit it: You knew George Mason was good, but you didn't know why. Hancock is part of that answer.
In other words, if you find yourself watching Big Monday in 2012, wondering where this talented Hancock kid came from, well, now you'll know.