Pretty impressive those 32 points, 16 rebounds and five steals that earned most valuable player honors for Chane Behanan in leading the University of Louisville basketball team to the NCAA’s West Regional championship last season.
Behanan had arrived, making him a big man on campus and throughout the community, and with all his buddies in Bowling Green and Cincinnati.
Pretty heady stuff for a freshman. Too much, apparently. Behanan will not be in the starting lineup when UofL plays the first exhibition game Thursday against Pikeville for what appears to have been a wasted summer. He will miss the opening game against Manhattan College with a one-game suspension.
The starting lineup will consist of Montrezl Harrell and Luke Hancock as forwards, Gorgui Dieng in the middle, and Peyton Siva and Russ Smith at the guard spots.
“Chane didn’t have the best summer in the world,” said Pitino during his Tuesday press conference. “He didn’t live in the gym like the rest of the guys. They celebrated for about a week, he (Behanan) had an extended period of time. He has some catching up to do.”
The coach has little doubt Behanan will be back to his old form soon. “Chane is going to get it back. I’ve got confidence in the young man.”
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Kevin Ware is also suspended for the Pikeville game, which might have been his first in a starting position. No explanation was forthcoming.
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Elisha Justice will return to the KFC Yum! Center with Pikeville in the exhibition game and will receive some special recognition, receiving his NCAA Final Four ring in a presentation before the game. Justice was hobbled by a variety of injuries last season and his playing status is uncertain. “We’re going to give him his ring whether he plays or not,” Pitino said.
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Pitino is uncertain whether Terrence Williams continues to have a future in the NBA. “Some players try to do too much and not do what they do best,” he said, indicating that T-Will had recently mentioned the possibility of playing basketball in China.