Yes, Louisville lost a key starter off its national team from a year ago, but Chane Behanan is the one who really lost out Monday morning when he was dismissed from the U of L basketball team. The junior forward certainly has nobody to blame himself.
Head coach Rick Pitino and U of L bent over backwards to try and keep Behanan, a key figure who was a prolific rebounder last season, especially in the Final Four. The Cincinnati native and former Bowling Green High School star played a huge role in the second half of the Cards’ win over Michigan in the national championship game.
But Behanan was no stranger to trouble within the basketball program. He was not allowed to speak to the media last season until he played well in U of L’s win over Kentucky at the KFC Yum Center.
He was famously suspended before this season even to the point where Rick Pitino said Behanan was off the team for good, until Pitino gave Behanan allowed him one more chance.
The forward had not started a game this season and was averaging 7.6 points through Louisville’s 13 games. He did not score in U of L’s 73-66 loss to Kentucky on Saturday. He did grab seven rebounds but wasn’t much of a factor in his 20 minutes on the floor.
“I want to apologize for letting down my family, teammates, coaches, Tom Jurich, this university and Louisville fans,” Behanan said in the U of L statement.
The burden will now be on Montrezl Harrell, the physically-gifted sophomore who failed to show up Saturday, scoring just six points and grabbing just four rebounds at Rupp Arena. With Behanan gone, Harrell will undoubtedly get more minutes in Pitino’s rotation.
For Louisville to succeed, Harrell has to play better than he did Saturday.
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