An In-Depth Look At Louisville Senior Luke Hancock’s Unstoppable Old School Pump Fake

Photo via @mattstonephotog

Photo via @mattstonephotog

“They’re right.”

This is Luke Hancock’s response to what people are labeling his basketball style: old school, old man basketball. In my mind, this means scuffed up Nike Blazers from the glory years, an infallible banked hook shot, and slow, drawn out moves that will dominate a YMCA pickup game. I’m talking about the moves that already worked in the player’s prime, and have only been perfected with age, like a fine wine…or devastatingly good ball-fake. Enter Luke Hancock’s pump fake:

The Luke Hancock pump fake is nothing new. It goes on display every game, followed by a three-point attempt or a solid drive to the basket, in true old school fashion. Even though defenders have seen it on tape, it’s too good not to fall for.

The mechanics, Hancock explains, are all about mimicking his actual shot:

“You have to look at the rim. Your pump fake has to be exactly like your normal shot. Some guys pump fake, and they just bring it up a little bit, and that’s not really going to get it done. My pump fake is a long pump fake that looks exactly how I shoot the ball.

You look at the rim, set it with your face, the ball, your hands and your whole body like you’re going to shoot a real shot. I try to make my pump fake look just like my real shot. Well, everything but letting it go.”

A longer fake brings the illusion that it is also slower, only adding to the old man style of play. He recognizes his strengths are not the same as super-quick guards Russ Smith and Chris Jones. He elaborates on the low speed of the execution:

“That’s how it’s supposed to be. I shoot a slow shot.  I’m a bigger guard, so I don’t need to go too fast. I make it so people will jump – not so I can out-quick somebody. I need to shift somebody over so I can get them in a compromised position, and go try to score.”

And score he does. Who hasn’t heard of the national championship’s Most Outstanding Player? Hancock went 5-5 from deep in last season’s final game, ending up with 22 for the night, including 14 consecutively. This season, his legend and pump fake lives on, as he is averaging 9.4 points a game despite early season injuries.

With an old school game and old man reputation comes respect and honor, and Hancock loves it: “When you start hitting shots, you get labeled as someone who make shots. And then, you kind of have to honor a pump fake.” At that point, it’s all over.


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You know how footballs get thrown down on the sidelines after a TD celebration and sometimes end up hitting the sideline media in the head? When that happens to me, I'll know I've made it. Student at the University of Louisville; Sports Administration major; Card for life... Probably afterlife, too. Follow me on Twitter @HaleyOSomething.