Louisville Cardinals NCAA Basketball Celebration

Louisville’s Luke Hancock named flag bearer for World University Games

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Just before the start of training camp for the United States World University Games team, Louisville forward Luke Hancock’s father passed away after a bout with cancer. Some wondered whether or not Hancock would attend the camp but the rising senior flew to Colorado Springs and ended up being one of the 12 players selected to play in the games, which begin on July 7 in Kazan, Russia.

On Thursday, USA Basketball announced that Hancock has been selected by his peers to be the flag bearer for the United States delegation for the opening ceremonies on Saturday.

“I am very proud. I am not sure exactly what to expect, but I am looking forward to the opportunity,” Hancock said in the release. “I’m honored to lead the way for the U.S. I’m excited.”

Hancock will be the fourth basketball player to bear this responsibility for the United States in the World University Games, with Orlando Johnson (2011), Alexis Gray-Lawson (2009) and Randy Foye (2005) being the others.

The World University Games men’s team also includes players such as Creighton forward Doug McDermott, Michigan State forward Adreian Payne and Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey. The team scrimmaged Russian club team UNICS on Thursday, winning 94-60 with Hancock (14 points) and McDermott (13) leading the way offensively.

The United States will play its first game on Sunday against the United Arab Emirates.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Rick Pitino: ‘We should be penalized … but not this team’

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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One of the biggest storylines of Saturday’s college basketball schedule had everything to do with a team that no longer matters in the championship picture.

Less than 24 hours after being informed that the school would be imposing a postseason ban that will leave the Cardinals out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments, No. 19 Louisville tipped off against Boston College, and they did so without leading scorer Damion Lee, who is battling a knee issue.

How would the team respond to the decision — the despicable, shameful decision — that the university’s president made?

Well, it seems.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 19-2 lead in the first eight minutes and cruised to a 79-47 win over an overmatched Boston College team in the Yum! Center.

And head coach Rick Pitino, after the quote, said exactly what everyone is thinking.

“We should be penalized, no question about it,” he said. “But not this team. But the NCAA didn’t make that decision. We made that decision.”

He’s totally right. The school sacrificed the season — and the only shot that a pair of fifth-year seniors would get to play in the NCAA tournament — to protect the school, the brand and the bottom-line moving forward. Like I said earlier, it’s despicable.

But credit the Cardinals for responding.

Because they still have something on the line. They’re just a game out of first place in the ACC, and while an ACC regular season title isn’t a shot to play in the ACC or NCAA tournament, it’s still a banner that would probably mean more to Damion Lee and Trey Lewis than any league title has meant to a Louisville player before.

Oklahoma State without Jawun Evans, questionable moving forward

Oklahoma State guard Jawun Evans (1) goes up for a shot between Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) and forward Perry Ellis (34) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Oklahoma State won 86-67. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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Oklahoma State’s star point guard was not in the lineup on Saturday against No. 13 Iowa State.

Evans injured his shoulder in the Cowboys’ loss at Texas Tech on Wednesday and was ruled out of Saturday’s game.

According to the school, his official status moving forward is questionable. The Pokes are just 11-11 on the season and likely need to earn the Big 12’s at-large bid to get into the NCAA tournament. It makes sense to let him get healthy.

Evans was averaging 12.9 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 boards this season, but he had been arguably the best point guard in the Big 12 during league play, averaging 15.6 points and 5.6 assists.