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Luke Hancock (11) gets an easy basket against Colorado State in an NCAA tournament game.
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Reached by phone as he was preparing for the first leg of a flight from Denver to Russia, Luke Hancock sounded like a guy who might want to recline his seat and catch his breath.
Hancock, a University of Louisville basketball star from Roanoke County, learned Sunday that he had made the United States team for the World University Games.
Tryouts in Colorado Springs had begun June 25, one day after his father, Bill, lost his battle with cancer.
Hancock's father and mother, Van, had let it be known that they wanted him to attend the trials under any circumstances.
"I left with just basketball on my mind," he said this week.
He was in a layover at the Dallas airport when he learned of his father's passing. He declined to discuss his thought process at that point.
Twelve players were to be chosen from a list of 29 invitees, some of whom elected to withdraw, including Virginia's Joe Harris, who had a stress reaction in one of his feet.
"I don't know if I was surprised to make the team," said Hancock, named most outstanding player at the Final Four, where Louisville beat Michigan to win the national championship.
"I felt I had as good a shot as anybody. I guess 'humbled' would be a better word for the way I feel."
Hancock comes from modest basketball roots as a graduate of Hidden Valley High School who prepped for a year at Hargrave Military Academy before signing with George Mason. After two years, he transferred to Louisville but not necessarily with plans to play in the World University Games.
"It's an invite thing," Hancock said. "Those aren't really things that crossed my mind."
Chanette Hicks, a second-team All-Tidewater selection from Maury High School in Norfolk, is one of two prominent rising seniors who have made commitments to the Virginia Tech women's basketball team for 2014-15.
Hicks will be joining Brielle Blaire , a 6-2 post player from Knox High School in Salisbury, N.C., where she averaged 24.1 points as a junior. Hicks, listed at 5-5, averaged 6.7 steals to go with 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
According to the ladyswish.com website, Blaire was offered a scholarship by Virginia Tech in the eighth grade. Blaire has been ranked among the nation's top 60 women's prospects by multiple recruiting services.
Hicks' coach at Maury, Jermaine Woods, resigned after the season and joined Tech's staff.
The commissioner of the newly revamped Big East Conference is Val Ackerman, a former UVa basketball player and lawyer who has served as president of the WNBA and USA Basketball.
At the time of her graduation from UVa in 1981, Ackerman was the all-time scoring leader (1,316 points) for what was then an eight-year-old program. The Big East now consists of seven original schools - Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette, DePaul, St. John's, Seton Hall and Providence - as well as newcomers Xavier, Butler and Creighton.
"We think we've got the best basketball mind in the country at the helm," the Rev. Brian Shanley, the Providence president, said.
Cave Spring graduate Kevin Munson, who pitched collegiately at James Madison, has joined the Arizona Diamondbacks' Class AAA affiliate, the Reno (Nev.) Aces. Munson, 24, had spent parts of three seasons with AA Mobile (Ala.) and had 13 saves this year at the time of his promotion.
-- Scott Silverstein, whose 10 victories led Virginia's staff this past season, lasted only one start for Bluefield before the Toronto Blue Jays promoted him to their full-season Class A affiliate in Vancouver.
-- Silverstein's one-time UVa teammate, first-round 2011 draft pick Danny Hultzen, is with AAA Tacoma (Wash.) and was scratched from a Tuesday night start because of tightness. He previously had missed two months with a strained rotator cuff.
Nebraska has taken a football commitment from Demornay Pierson-El, a 5-foot-9, 174-pound all-purpose threat who rushed for 1,658 yards and scored 26 touchdowns last year at West Potomac High School. Pierson-El, projected as a slot receiver by the Cornhuskers, also had offers from North Carolina and Boston College. He had 49 receptions, 15 for touchdowns, as a sophomore in 2011.
Virginia's first national championship in men's tennis coincided with a recruiting class that has been ranked No. 1 in the country. UVa signed four of the top 15 prospects in the country according to tennisrecruiting.net, including No. 1-rated Thai-Son Kwiatkowski from Charlotte, N.C.
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