Luke Hancock, right, is transferring to Louisville. “I’m disappointed, but he felt a change was best for him,” George Mason Coach Paul Hewitt said. (Associated Press)

Luke Hancock, a key player on George Mason’s NCAA tournament team last season, is transferring to Louisville, new Patriots coach Paul Hewitt said Saturday.

Hancock, a 6-foot-5 sophomore swingman, will sit out the 2011-12 season and have two years of eligibility with the Big East’s Cardinals. He had been weighing his options since longtime coach Jim Larranaga’s departure to Miami last month.

“I’m disappointed, but he felt a change was best for him,” Hewitt said. The Patriots are expected to fill the scholarship opening with George Washington recruit Erik Copes, whose uncle, Roland Houston, left GW to join Hewitt’s staff. Copes, a 6-8 center from Philadelphia, was recently released from his letter of intent with the Colonials.

Hancock started 30 games last season and was third on the team in scoring (10.9 ppg), first in assists (4.3) and fourth in rebounds (4.2). In an NCAA tournament victory over Villanova, he had 18 points and five assists and hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 21 seconds left.

On the morning of the next game, he fell ill and wasn’t able to play in the 98-66 loss to top-seeded Ohio State.