Random notes for a Monday night.
- Peter Bukowski of SI.com writes that UK’s James Young is shooting his way up the draft boards of NBA teams.
What you’ll miss in Young’s box score if you didn’t watch Saturday is that in the second half, when the Harrison twins had their offense going, Young did the right thing: he took a backseat. He decided to do the other things he’s capable of doing in order to help his team win. He rebounded his position with his 6-foot-11 wingspan, eventually totaling a double-double. And he dished out four assists as well to set up his talented teammates. To be a lottery pick and an effective NBA player, Young’s career will have to mimic his performance Saturday. When the jumper isn’t falling, he can still be effective as a defender, rebounder and distributor.
- Mike Rutherford of Card Chronicle tries to see a silver lining in the Chane Behanan dismissal.
Let’s just state the obvious: this is a huge blow. Louisville already needed an enormous lift in frontcourt production to have a shot at repeating, and instead they just lost their most experienced and accomplished forward. At the same time, it’s only a huge blow if you’re assuming that the Chane Behanan from the past two NCAA Tournaments was going to reemerge. If Behanan was going to continue to provide distraction after distraction, then it’s hard to not see this as at least somewhat of a positive.
- Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News says losing Behanan eliminates Louisville from national title chase.
Could they make the Final Four? Oh, perhaps, given the right matchups and a fair amount of luck. Russ Smith and Chris Jones are dynamic enough in the backcourt, and it ought to help Harrell to settle into an influential role now that he doesn’t have to share his position with Behanan. Even if Luke Hancock recovers his shooting touch and everyone finds a comfortable role, though, Louisville without Behanan is both too thin in the frontcourt and too lacking in elite talent to be one of the leading contenders to win it all.
- Gary Parrish of CBS Sports says blame Behanan, not Pitino and that this situation reminds you of another former Cardinal.
Honestly, it reminds me a little of Derrick Caracter, who was the last high-profile forward Pitino had to dismiss, and one of the great knuckleheads in recent history. If my memory serves me correctly, Caracter messed up so much that, at some point, sources told me, Pitino implemented a curfew for Caracter and explained in great detail that violating the curfew would lead to a dismissal. Caracter told Pitino he understood. Then, less than a week later, Caracter was caught on video leaving his residence after curfew, and, I was told, Caracter actually swiped his door pass to reenter the living quarters, meaning there was undeniable evidence that he was out past curfew.
- C.L. Brown of ESPN on Louisville’s options without Behanan.
The thought was always that Pitino would use Harrell at center and Behanan at power forward so they could be in the same lineup and Louisville could have its best players on the floor. With Behanan gone, Harrell will likely need to increase his 24.4 minutes per game, along with his average of 12 points and eight rebounds. Harrell’s best performance remains his 20 points and seven rebounds against Syracuse in the Big East tournament championship game last season.
- Louisville is No. 14 and Kentucky No. 15 in the AP rankings, released today.
- Chad Ford says that the Milwaukee Bucks really like Julius Randle and as it stands now the Bucks would have a good chance of having the No. 1 pick.
- Shagari Alleyne is now a wrestler?
- If Bill O’Brien leaves for the NFL, David Jones of the Harrisonburg Patriot-News says that Penn State will target Vanderbilt coach James Franklin.
Franklin, 41, is known as a college coach and that’s what Penn State wants. The administration does not desire another former NFL coach whose ultimate desire is to return to the pro realm. Though Franklin did spend a year (2005) with the Green Bay Packers as wideouts coach and worked as an intern with three other NFL clubs (Eagles, Dolphins, Vikings), the overwhelming breadth of his career is sprinkled with five different major-college positions, the last three seasons at Vandy, all ending with bowl appearances.
- ESPN has hired Tim Tebow as an analyst for the SEC Network.
- Nick Saban gets his nails painted for a good cause.
— The CW Sports (@CWsports) December 30, 2013
- Meanwhile, an Alabama fan has named her child Krimson Tyde.
- North Carolina will wear blue uniforms at home for just the second time in history as part of a Happy Blue Year promotion.