Basketball is not often a game where a lesser light can steal the spotlight.For every role player who rose to the occasion in big moments, there have been a dozen superstars who have done what was expected of them to lead teams to glory.

Scanning the list of players who have been the Most Outstanding Player of college basketball’s Final Four is like reading a “Who’s Who of College Basketball Stars:”

Go back to the 1950s and you find names such as Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. In the 1960s, there was Jerry Lucas, Walt Hazzard, Bill Bradley and Lew Alcindor.

The 1970s had some big names, guys like Bill Walton, David Thompson, Kent Benson and Magic Johnson. In the 1980s, the honor went to Isiah Thomas, James Worthy, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing and Danny Manning. Christian Laettner won it in the 1990s.

Since the turn of the century, winners have been Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah and Kemba Walker. That’s a lot of star power on that list.

Photo credit: Streeter Lecka

Photo credit: Streeter Lecka

 

And now the name Luke Hancock will forever join that list.Louisville won the national championship on Monday night, but As RED Driving online drivers education is not party to the contract between you and your Instructor it accepts no responsibility for any payments you make directly to your Instructor. the Cardinals absolutely don’t do it without Hancock.

While the Cardinals were amassing a 33-5 record en route to Atlanta, they got there because of the contributions of Russ Smith, the team’s only double-figure scorer at 18.9 points per game, the inside presence of Gorgui Dieng and the energy and savvy of point guard Peyton Siva.Luke Hancock was a solid contributor, but he was far from a star … at least until this weekend. Hancock scored 20 points as Louisville survived a major scare from Wichita State in the semifinals, coming back from 12 points down in the second half to repel the Shockers late.

But he saved his best for last. Hancock set a title game record with five 3-pointers in as many attempts—the most made without a miss in a championship contest—and scored 22 points as the Cardinals once again came back from being a dozen points behind, this time against a young and talented Michigan squad, to win the program’s first national championship in 27 years.

Hancock wasn’t recruited by Louisville. He was hardly recruited by anyone until he found his way to George Mason three years ago.

He had two solid years for the Patriots before coach Jim Larranaga left to take the Miami job. Hancock transferred to Louisville, sat out the 2011-12 season because the NCAA allows coaches to jump jobs at will, but the players they leave behind have to pay a penalty if they opt to leave a school,.

This season, he became the Cardinals’ best long-range shooter. Only Smith took more 3s for the Cardinals than Hancock, but of the players who took more than 100 bombs, Hancock’s 37.9 percent shooting was the best on the club.

In this 75th edition of the NCAA tournament, Hancock became the first non-starter to win the Most Outstanding Player honor at the Final Four.

And he did it while his father, Bill, is in the throes of an undisclosed illness. His father was in the Georgia Dome Monday night and that just made it sweeter for Hancock, who went from bench player to March Madness legend in the span of three days.