Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sports column

December 31, 2013

Louisville standout is a player with two personalities

Chane Behanan came to the University of Louisville as a gifted athlete. He also arrived on campus as a young man who grew up in a rough neighborhood in Cincinnati where trouble was a common companion.

The big question was which trait would evolve in the new setting: Would the former McDonald’s All-American develop into a standout player? Or would an undisciplined young man who survived a tough environment fail to adjust to a system of rules, responsibility and accountability?

The answer: Both did.

On the floor, Behanan was a force. In his first two years, Louisville twice won the Big East Conference championship, twice made it to the NCAA Final Four and in 2013 claimed the national championship.

But when it wasn’t game time, Behanan had a habit of getting into trouble.  He started this season on indefinite suspension - just one of many times he found himself at odds with Coach Rick Pitino. He also had to answer to recent news that his 2012 NCAA Final Four ring was listed for sale on the Internet.

Behanan’s odyssey came to an abrupt end Monday when he was kicked off the team, not by the coach but the university, for unspecified reasons.

College athletics offer many stories of players who beat the odds to enjoy great careers - in their playing days and their professional lives. Then there are stories about guys like Chane Behanan. They can’t escape the habits picked up in their developmental days or break from those who lead them in the wrong direction.

In a hastily called news conference Monday afternoon, Pitino announced that Behanan was dismissed. His remarks, at times, sounded as if he was describing two different people.

“We lost a terrific young man in many respects,” Pitino said. “Between the lines he gave great effort and was a great teammate, a wonderful young guy to be around.

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