Chane Behanan was suspended indefinitely last Thursday by the University of Louisville for violation of University policy. Within days, the junior forward had repeated the violation, which caused head coach Rick Pitino to say Behanan could still earn his way back, though it was not probable.
On Monday afternoon, Behanan seemed to have a different point of view than his Hall of Fame coach, according to WDRB’s Bozich and Crawford. The 6-foot-6 forward told Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford that he was “positive” he could work earn his way back to the team, and that he had been “working hard” to get his spot back on the roster.
Behanan wandered into a Starbucks in the Highlands where Bozich and Crawford were working on Monday afternoon, wearing a pair of jeans and a Cincinnati Reds T-shirt.
He said he watched Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage on television, and that he plans to begin reading Pitino’s new book, “The One-Day Contract” on Tuesday.
Bozich said, “I just saw you at media day a few days earlier and things looked good.”
Behanan replied, “Things happen.”
“I was never concerned about Chane the basketball player,” Pitino said during a press conference on Thursday. “He is extremely respectful. He’s a good guy. He’s a good teammate, and he’s an excellent basketball player. He just has a very difficult time understanding life’s values and significance of life’s values, and we’re going to try to help him along.
“We’re more interested in Chane the man than we are right now the basketball player. We want to see him prosper as a person as much as he has been prospering as a basketball player.”
Behanan averaged 9.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game for the national champions this past season. In his absence, Wayne Blackshear and Stephen Van Treese will take on larger roles on the frontline, as will Montrezl Harrell, who is being projected as one of the breakout stars in college basketball this season. Akoy Agau also joins the program as a four-star recruit according to Rivals.
At the earliest, Behanan could return by mid-December.
The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.