Louisville reinstates Behanan
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)
Louisville coach Rick Pitino has reinstated forward Chane Behanan has been reinstated and the junior will dress for Tuesday night's game against Hofstra.
Pitino announced on Oct. 17 that Behanan had been suspended indefinitely for violating school policy, but didn't specify what team rule was broken. The coach later said that the 6-foot-6, 250-pound player would miss at least the first month with the third-ranked Cardinals.
The coach said Monday that Behanan had met conditions for his return and returned to practice on Friday.
"I had a target of 30 straight days of (Behanan) doing the right things and I didn't think he would ever do it, to be honest,'' Pitino said. ''He had 30 great days, which surprised the heck out of me."
Behanan remains under disciplinary probation for the rest of the season. He has not moved back in the team's dormitory and Pitino didn't say whether he would play against the Pride in Louisville's first of four games of the Hall of Fame Tipoff tournament.
Behanan's surprising return instantly beefs up Louisville's frontcourt as the Cardinals look to defend their national championship. He played a key role in their 82-76 title-game victory over Michigan, scoring 15 and grabbing 12 rebounds in a performance his coach later said "made him cry."
Rising sophomore Montrezl Harrell had manned the power forward's spot for Louisville with junior small forward Wayne Blackshear as the backup. The two combined for 21 points and 14 rebounds in Saturday's 70-48 victory over College of Charleston.
Instead of waiting until December to see his team at full strength, Pitino gets an earlier-than-expected peek thanks to Behanan's diligence in atoning for his infraction.
"I didn't think he could do anything that we put forward for him physically, mentally, emotionally," said Pitino, adding that Behanan had violated conditions for his return in the first week.
"He surprised all of us. ... I think he's embarrassed more than anything else. He knows he's let the team down."
Pitino also announced senior Luke Hancock will dress after missing the preseason with an Achilles injury.