Monday, December 30, 2013

Chane Behanan dismissed from Louisville

Chane Behanan played a key role in helping leading Louisville to the 2013 national title. (Getty Images)

The saga between Chane Behanan and Louisville seems to have reached a conclusion.

Behanan has been dismissed from the Cardinals for a violation of university policy, the school announced on Monday afternoon.

'We lost a really terrific man in many respects,' head coach Rick Pitino said at a press conference. 'Away from the lines, he just did not do the right things, over and over and over. The university has gone to the met for him, in giving him every opportunity to make it here. It's come to a difficult detour in his road. It's set our basketball team back immensely.'

Behanan can transfer to another school and play the second half of next season, or he can choose to pursue professional options.

'We're all let down by this,' Pitino said.

Behanan, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, was indefinitely suspended in October after a violation of university and team rules. At the time, Pitino said Behanan's status with the program was in doubt and he might not even return to the team. However, he did not expand on what resulted in the suspension. The timetable for a return was estimated at mid-December, at the earliest.

Less than one month later, however, Pitino reinstated Behanan to the team. He ended up only missing one regular-season game, although he has struggled since coming back. Behanan has seen his minutes take a dip from a year ago, and he has only scored in double-figures on four occasions. On Saturday, he was mostly invisible, finishing with zero points on three shots in 20 minutes in a loss to Kentucky.

On the season, Behanan is averaging 7.6 points and 6.3 rebounds. Outside of shooting percentage, his numbers are down across the board from a season ago, when he played a key role in helping Louisville to a national championship. In the 2013 Final Four, Behanan averaged 12.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in wins over Wichita State and Michigan. He was expected to be a consistent double-double threat again this season.

Combined with Louisville's poor performance over the weekend, the loss of Behanan significantly lowers the optimism for the Cardinals this season. It puts more pressure on Montrezl Harrell inside, and while he's very good at running the floor and finishing above the rim, he's not a consistent back-to-the-basket scorer. Pitino will have to turn to freshman Mangok Mathiang and senior Stephan Van Treese for more minutes, as well.

Louisville is 11-2 entering AAC play.
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