Peyton Siva (right) is confident that Chane Behanan can recover from his dismissal from the Louisville basketball team.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Some questions are instinctive: What did Chane Behanan do to force the University of Louisville to dismiss him from the basketball team?
Some questions are inevitable: Does Rick Pitino have the material, mojo and masking tape to cover Behanan's absence to coach this U of L team for a legitimate push to defend its NCAA championship?
But one question comes first:
What happens to Chane Behanan now?
Not simply with basketball. Chane Behanan will play basketball and likely play it well it enough to be paid. Without Behanan, there is no national championship celebration in this town last April. Somebody will ask Behanan to play basketball. Odds are somebody has already asked.
But this is about more than putting a ball in a goal. This is about putting goals in your life, showing that you can follow the rules and then achieve them. Behanan stumbled there. Lots of college juniors stumble with rules. They simply do it in front of family and friends, not 21,897 howling fans.
Now you wonder how Behanan responds from his public embarrassment and if he will eventually realize his considerable potential – as a basketball player and as a man. You wonder if his career arc will bounce and spin in the path of Derrick Caracter or return to the glory it was pursuing last spring. Behanan can transfer and sit out one season or he can hire an agent and trainer to prepare for a pro career right now.
"Chane is going to be OK," said Peyton Siva, Behanan's teammate on Louisville's back-to-back NCAA Final Four runs. "He's a good kid. He's a strong kid. He just messed up.
"Chane needs to step away from everything and take care of himself. That's the number one thing, to take care of himself. He still has a chance to have a pro career and provide for his family. He can do that.
"He just can't hang out with the wrong people. He needs to deal with that and he's going to be all right. I've seen people deal with chaos before. He can do it. He knows I'll help him. All of his teammates will help him."
The university cannot comment on the specific reasons for Behanan's dismissal. But Pitino did say that academics were not a factor and that Behanan failed to do the right things "over and over and over."
Pitino acknowledged the obvious – his battles with Behanan had been ongoing. Sometimes the player understands the message and the battles end. Sometimes the player misses the message and his career ends. It has happened here before.
"It's aged me," Pitino said. "I'm old enough. I don't need to be aged any more. But it has. Greatly. And it's had a bad ending. Sometimes things age you and have a great ending.
"A few players I've coached have overcome obstacles. There's nothing better than a coach, teacher than to see a great ending. To see this type of ending, it's really difficult."
Siva said that Behanan had a lot of chaos in his life. That was a purposefully vague term, but most of the reasons for the chaos could not be nurturing. Behanan grew up without much guidance in Cincinnati, bounced to Bowling Green and then came to Louisville with great expectations.
Siva knows about chaos in life. He had plenty while growing up in Seattle. Many players have chaos – at Louisville and spots across the basketball map. The goal is to move beyond it.
"Like I tell our guys all the time, you can't place blame on your backgrounds," Pitino said. "You can't do it. That doesn't help you make it. You've got to use your backgrounds to motivate you to get out of those backgrounds that are difficult. It's got to be a motivating factor."
Siva did that. He is still doing it today. A second-round pick of the Detroit Pistons, Siva started a two-week assignment with the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Mad Ants in the NBA Development League on Sunday, scoring 24 points in 28 minutes before injuring his wrist. Early Monday afternoon, Siva's phone started flashing with the somewhat jarring news that Behanan had been dismissed from his favorite team.
Somewhat jarring is the proper description because Behanan started this season on indefinite suspension. There were more flashing lights when one of his NCAA Final Four rings made its way onto a sports memorabilia auction site. It was later taken down and reported as stolen. Sounds like chaos.
But Behanan never worked his way into the Cardinals' starting lineup this season. Saturday, when Louisville lost to Kentucky, 73-66, in Rupp Arena, Behanan's ineffective play continued. He played 20 minutes, but failed to score.
As has been the case all season, Behanan left the locker room without talking to the media. He was not available Monday, other than on Twitter, where Behanan said this:
"Shout to everybody that support me through the thick n thin. For those who don't I will pray for you and remember I will b good, not giving up."
Siva said that he has not talked to Behanan for a week, but did speak with him after Pitino placed Behanan on indefinite suspension in October. He said he planned to call him soon.
"I love Chane like a brother," Siva said. "Coach cares about him. All of his teammates care about him. He's just a big kid. It's tough for all of us to deal with this. I checked in on him (after the suspension) almost every week. He was doing good.
"Without Chane, we don't have a national championship and two Final Fours. But this isn't about that. This is about Chane dealing with what he needs to deal with and taking care of Chane."