This is the first in a series previewing some of the key players in Saturday’s Kentucky-Louisville game.
Chane Behanan was a key cog in Louisville’s title machine of a year ago. As a sophomore, he scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Louisville’s Final Four win over Wichita State, then scored 15 points and collected 12 rebounds in the Cards’ title game win over Michigan.
Behanan ended up averaging 9.8 points and 6.5 rebounds. The latter number was actually down from his 7.45 rebounds per game as a freshman.
Behanan was suspended during the off season to the point where at one point Louisville coach Rick Pitino said he didn’t think Behanan would return to the team.
“He’s a lovable guy, but if we don’t do something now he’s not going to prosper in life,” Pitino said. “This is not about basketball, it’s about Chane Benahan becoming the person he can become.”
Behanan did come back, of course. He was re-instated after missing the season opener against College of Charleston. The junior from Bowling Green is averaging just 18.5 minutes per game after averaging 26 minutes each of his first two seasons. His scoring is down to 8.3 points and his rebounds are down to 6.18 per game.
There was also the matter of Behanan and his stolen championship ring from 2012. The University and law enforcement officials cleared Behanan of any wrongdoing in the matter.
He played a season-high 24 minutes against Western Kentucky and scored 11 points while grabbing seven rebounds. His season-high is 13 points and 12 rebounds against Cornell. He had 11 points and 11 rebounds in 19 minutes during a 90-62 win over Missouri-Kansas City.
After starting 76 games his first two seasons, Behanan has not started a game this season. But in the last four games, the 6-foot-6, 250-pounder has made 14 of 17 shots from the floor.
Last year against UK, Behanan had 20 points and seven rebounds as U of L won at the Yum Center. He had 10 points and nine rebounds against the Cats in the 2012 Final Four game. He fouled out in just 15 minutes in the Dec. 31, 2011 game at Rupp Arena.
Photo of Chane Behanan by Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press
- Louisville individual game-by-game for 2013-14 in Excel
- Louisville’s 2013-14 team stats
- Russ Smith has a penchant for big games at Rupp Arena