Louisville’s hopes for repeating as national champs took a major blow on Thursday as the school announced that Chane Behanan has been suspended indefinitely from the team for a violation of University policy.
Head coach Rick Pitino said that there is still a chance that Behanan could earn his way back onto the team, but that it’s “not probable“. Behanan is no longer living in the players dorm, and since this punishment was handed down last week, he’s already violated the terms required for him to get back onto the team. The earliest he can return is mid-December. Louisville plays North Carolina, if neither team gets upset, on November 24th. They visit Kentucky on December 28th. AAC play starts when the calendar turns.
“This is not about basketball,” Pitino said. “It’s about Chane as a person.”
Louisville was already dealing with a front court that wasn’t incredibly deep, and this certainly doesn’t help matters. Stephen Van Treese will likely slide into the role of starting power forward — Pitino said as much last week — while Wayne Blackshear will likely see more time at the four as the Cardinals try to develop freshman Akoy Agau. Montrezl Harrell, who is already looking to replace Gorgui Dieng at center, will now play an even bigger role for the Cardinals.
This clearly hurts Louisville, but it is anything but a kill-shot to their national title hopes. Behanan is talented, but he’s still a role player on this team. If Harrell makes the jump that we all expect him to make, Chris Jones can adequately replace Peyton Siva at the point and Russ Smith continues to grow as a player, the Cardinals will still be a top five team and will still be a Final Four favorite come March.
Behanan averaged 9.8 points and 6.5 boards as a sophomore.