Former Louisville champion returns to Kentucky for new career.
Writer / Dave Schroerlucke
Luke Hancock’s downtown Louisville office will soon be sporting a new custom-made desk, fashioned from a choice slab of hard maple. This is no ordinary piece of wood — it is a piece of history, a segment of the basketball court that donned the floor of the Georgia Dome during the 2013 NCAA Final Four, where the University of Louisville men’s basketball team completed their triumphant run to the school’s third National Championship.
For Luke, the keepsake will serve as a daily reminder of his role in that championship — a role so vital that he was awarded the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, becoming the only reserve (non-starter) to receive the award in NCAA tournament history dating back to 1939.
During the 2012-2013 season, Luke embraced his role as a utility player and, despite coming off the bench, always saw himself as an integral part of the team.
“To me I was the glue guy,” Hancock says. “There was a lot of talent on that team. Five of those guys played in the NBA. My job was just to piece it all together. I tried to be that veteran guy that made sure we were focused and doing all the right things.”
Of course, Luke’s stellar shooting ability didn’t hurt the team’s chances either. His uncanny knack for hitting big shots in critical situations earned him the nickname “Cool Hand Luke” from Coach Rick Pitino, who considered him to be the team’s best clutch shooter.
Luke certainly lived up to his epithet in the Final Four, during which his clutch sharpshooting and veteran leadership were on full display. In the Championship game, with the Cardinals trailing Michigan by 12 points late in the first half, Luke single-handedly kept the game from getting out of reach by making four three-pointers and scoring 14 consecutive points in the final three minutes before halftime to trim the lead to one point. Luke then drained his fifth three-pointer (perfect in five attempts) with just 2:39 left to play in the game, extending the Cardinals’ lead to 10 points and essentially sealing the victory.
His incredible performance solidified Luke’s place among March Madness lore and enshrined him as a hero in the eyes of Louisville fans forever.
Following graduation, Luke bounced around in a couple of NBA summer leagues, was signed and later waived by the Memphis Grizzlies and ultimately landed overseas playing in the Greek Basketball League. After only six games, Luke suffered an Achilles tendon tear that forced him to contemplate life after basketball much sooner than expected. Having purchased a home in Louisville prior to playing for the Grizzlies, Luke had already planned to return to Louisville to live at some point.
“It’s a city and community that’s done a lot for me and been supportive of me,” he says. “I have a good group of friends here. There was really no doubt that I was going to come back here.”
Luke wasted no time making the transition, promptly accepting a position in the financial sector that had been offered to him before leaving for Greece.
Now, with two years of finance experience under his belt, Luke has joined the team at Clearpath Financial, a subsidiary of Raymond James offering comprehensive financial planning services and wealth management. No longer the veteran, Luke’s role is to “get out there and let people know what we do and how we do it.”
“We’re not just stockbrokers,” he says. “We’re financial planners who can assist in every aspect of finance.”
Just as he did for the Cardinals, Luke prides himself on having the versatility to do what needs to be done in any given situation.
“I had to do a lot of different things playing for the Cards,” Luke says. “Now, when people come to me and need help with some type of financial solution, I have to wear a lot of different hats. Whether that’s helping someone sell a business, or managing someone’s 401k or IRA, there’s just such a wide array of things that clients can present. Every situation is unique, and I have to be able to accommodate a lot of different things.”
Acknowledging that he could have ventured out on his own, Luke felt more comfortable joining an established team with a proven track record so that he could “leverage the experience, expertise and resources of those that have been there and done that so I am better equipped to help anyone I come across.”
In addition to his work as a financial advisor, Luke has also been collaborating with some software developers on a mobile application called Shortnotice. The app aims at using social media to get people off of social media, allowing local businesses to offer real-time deals and promotions to patrons in the area who are then able to send invites to organize spontaneous meet-ups with friends. A big advantage of Shortnotice is its customizability.
“With some of the larger social media apps, you constantly get bombarded by ads that you don’t want,” Luke explains. “With Shortnotice, you choose the places you want to get ads from. So (the app) has a little more respect for the user, which I like.”
When not working, Luke enjoys playing a round of golf at nearby Woodhaven or shooting some hoops wherever he can find a good pick-up game.
“I’m still a ‘basketball junkie’” he quips, while checking his smartphone for the latest scores from NCAA tournament games going on in the background at RecBar, which happens to be one of his favorite J-town hotspots.
A self-proclaimed “sandwich guy,” Luke also likes to hit up Potbelly’s nearly every time he is in the area for lunch. When asked if he frequently gets approached by fans, Luke explained that he is far more likely to be recognized when he is wearing a beard than when clean-shaven.
“The craziest thing for me is when people come up and they say ‘my son was named after you,’” Luke says. “I’ve signed autographs ‘From one Luke to another.’ Being someone’s namesake, I think that’s pretty wild.”
Luke doesn’t let the popularity go to his head but instead relishes the fact that he was able to bring joy to so many people.
“The best part of that experience of winning the championship has been how many people it affected,” Luke says. “How many things in your life can you remember where you were, who you were with and every detail about it? For a Louisville fan, us winning the championship was that moment. People come up to me and tell me their stories all the time, how they were able to share that experience with their families. It’s pretty special being part of such a significant moment in their lives.”
Moving forward, Luke’s primary goal is to continue having a positive impact in the community by helping people in his new role as a financial advisor.
“People know me as a basketball player, but my transition into finance has been a great one. It’s something I really enjoy doing,” he says.
Focused on building solid lifelong relationships with his clients, Luke looks forward to being able to help individuals and families achieve their financial goals as they evolve across the lifespan. Paraphrasing a quote from the late Zig Ziglar, who influenced his decision to go into finance, Luke expressed his strong conviction about the importance of helping those around him be successful.
“I feel that if I can take care of enough people and do the right things for enough people, then I will be happy and successful, and I’ll be in this community for a long time,” Luke says.