Rick, Are You Serious About Chane And The NBA?

Chane Behanan could be winding down his career at the University of Louisville. Cards head coach Rick Pitino has said numerous times this year that he thinks the sophomore forward should test the NBA waters after this season. Behanan entered the week averaging 11 points and 7.4 rebounds for the No. 10 Cards. He scored a career-high 30 points in the 5-overtime loss at Notre Dame, and pulled down 15 rebounds in that same game. He also entered the week with 45 dunks this season, the fifth most in school history. Behanan is a 6-foot-6, 250-pound Cincinnati native who played his last two seasons of high school basketball at Bowling Green High School in Bowling Green, Ky.

KENT TAYLOR: Coach Pitino has said that he has given each player a few things to work on as we head into March – what are you working on?

CHANE BEHANAN: Mostly just dribbling, pulling up, midrange jumpers. A lot of free throws too.

TAYLOR: Are you at a point where you are confident shooting free throws?

BEHANAN: In practice it’s good, but I just have to take the same mentality and convert over to the game.

TAYLOR: What did you think when you saw the video of your behind-the-back pass to Russ (Smith) in the South Florida game?

BEHANAN: I just, I don’t know, I just grabbed it and threw it. In my mind, the whole time I was running, I said that I was gonna do it, I’m not gonna lie to you. I said I was. Even if my foot was out of bounds, I still was going to try to make the pass. Good thing I stayed in and hit Russ on the money.

TAYLOR: Coach Pitino has said more than once this year, he’s talked about you and the NBA next season. Has he talked to you about that?

BEHANAN: He’s mentioned it, but he’ll try to beat around the bush with it. As far as him just saying it full blown, he really doesn’t try to do that. He’s really just working on trying to maintain the route we’re going now and just trying to bring back the trophy to Louisville.

TAYLOR: You continue to climb the all-time lists for dunks – you have 45 this season. Is that something you consciously look for in a game?

BEHANAN: Lately I have. I’m trying to limit the power dribble and go straight up. I’m quick off my feet I think. Just go straight up, if you get blocked, you get blocked, come down and do it again. I’ve just been telling Peyton (Siva) to throw the ball up at the rim and I’ll get it. I’ve got confidence in me jumping with another defender.

TAYLOR: Over the summer Coach Pitino talked about how Kevin Ware had played so great, but it seems like during the season he has struggled to find his role. Has he settled in to that now?

BEHANAN: With Kevin I always hear Coach say – because Kevin is probably the longest guard we have, with the arms, and the most athletic guard we have, with the jumping ability – he can bother people with his hands, just standing 3 or 4 feet from them. That’s one thing that Kevin has to take into the tournament. He’s going to be a big factor for us I think, going into the tournament.

TAYLOR: How about Wayne (Blackshear) and the way he’s playing now – is it a different level than you’ve seen from him at UofL?

BEHANAN: He’s, like today in practice, he’s rebounding, snatching rebounds from bigger defenders, running down the court knocking down shots. Once we get his confidence up and it stays there, it’s going to be hard to contain us going through the tournament.

TAYLOR: Can you sense a different feeling as March approaches?

BEHANAN: Everybody is hungry. Practices have been spirited, everybody is having fun, working hard, challenging each other, just talking a lot of stuff, and that’s how practices should be.

TAYLOR: How many times have you watched that “Harlem Shake” video that the team filmed?

BEHANAN: I’ve probably watched it, well, three today, because I did Coach’s TV show. Russ started it off, everybody voted for Russ because Russ is the team clown.

TAYLOR: You said that you don’t want Coach Pitino to name a horse after you, because if it doesn’t win, he’d be mad at you. Do you notice that he treats Russ, Gorgui (Dieng) and Peyton differently?

BEHANAN: Oh yeah, he does. Now, I know, I see why. He rarely says stuff to me now, it’s always focused on Russ, Peyton and Gorgui. Now I know, (it’s) because of horses losing him money.

Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune