...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
In the aftermath of Darius Morris's decision to stay in the NBA draft Michigan has a scholarship open, and along with German Patrick Heckmann here's a second candidate to take that spot:
Luke Hancock is still weighing his options and could transfer from George Mason basketball, according to a report by Steven Goff of the Washington Post. Hancock, who was rumored to be transferring last week, has spoken to new coach Paul Hewitt several times as he is making up his mind, George Mason athletic director Tom O'Connor told Goff. … Sources told SB Nation that Hancock is considering trying to transfer to Michigan as well as Virginia, the latter of which had previously been reported.
Hancock just finished his sophomore year. After pulling a Blake McLimans (going to prep school after getting zero offers) he managed to convince GMU to offer him and rewarded their faith by becoming the CAA freshman of the year in 2010. Last year he was an efficient, somewhat low-usage scorer (54% from two, 36% from three, 81% from the line with a shot percentage around 19%) who got to the line quite a bit. His 60% true shooting rate would have been second on last year's Michigan team behind Jordan Morgan, and his statistical profile indicates a guy who is creating a lot of opportunities, not just absorbing them efficiently. He played about 70% of Mason's minutes and led the team in assists despite being described as "6-5 swing player" most places. Unfortunately, he also led the team with a Courtney Sims-like 21.5 TO rate.
While all of these are CAA numbers and should be taken somewhat skeptically, Hancock had 18 points on ten shots and a 5:1 assist to turnover ratio in GMU's opening round tourney win over Villanova. (He missed the OSU blowout due to illness.) Against VCU he had a tougher time, with just four points in a 79-63 loss in the CAA playoffs; he went 0-5 from the field in a regular season win but was 10-10 from the line and had seven assists. He played well in most of Mason's games against the meat of their schedule—Old Dominion, NC State, Duquesne, and Harvard mostly.
Hancock would sit out next year and have two to play, so Michigan's looking at Heckmann now, Hancock, a random late-emerging 2012 player, or banking that scholarship all the way to 2013. If Hancock wants to come I'd probably take him. He fits Michigan's offense, gets to the line, and hands out assists. He's a proven college player who will almost certainly be better than the freshman and sophomore years of whoever they might grab with Morris's scholarship in 2012 or 2013. Unless they really like Heckmann he seems like the best way to make lemonade out of Morris's departure.
Now he just has to decide to transfer.