In a great story, Luke Hancock of the Louisville Cardinals will be the flag bearer for the United States at the World University games according to Team USA’s World University Games website. The smooth shooting forward was chosen to be the flag bearer for the maturity and perseverance he has shown in the face of adversity.
On June 24th, Hancock’s father, Bill passed away after a hard fought battle with cancer. Unfortunately for Hancock, he was at the tryouts for the World University Games and was unable to be with his family at his father’s side.
It was a possibility that both father and son were aware of and something that they had discussed.
“Everybody’s excited when they get an invitation like this, to come play for their country,” Hancock said. “I talked to my dad before I left. We talked about this. This is where he wanted me to be and this is kind of how my family wanted me to go through with it. I thought about not going, just staying home. But my dad made sure that I went. He made sure that I at least tried. It’s been a rough week, but this is where he wanted me to be I guess.”
Teammates and the coaching staff have rallied around Hancock in his tough moments and have been there to support him. The consistent word from the USA camp is that Hancock has been an absolute warrior and has faced his sadness and emotions in the most mature and adult way possible.
“He’s made a great sacrifice to be on the team,” said VCU forward Treveon Graham. “It’s really good to have him on the team. He’s a great player. He’s one of the most vocal guys on the team, so just to have him here is great. We were all pulling for him. We felt he was really strong for going through this. To see him doing what he’s doing now, it’s really good for all of us.”
Nothing can ever replace losing your father, the man who raised you from a boy and taught you to be a man. No one thinks that being chosen as the flag bearer would even begin to replace that sort of relationship but it is a proud moment for Hancock. It’s something that his father would be proud of and a beautiful gesture by the delegation from the United States to honor a young man’s bond with his father.
The opening ceremonies will be on Saturday, July 6th and team USA will take the court on the 7th to try and conquer the gold and erase 2011′s 5th place finish. Hancock will be a key member for the team’s gold medal aspirations and while he might be playing with a heavy heart, he will also be playing for his father’s memory.