BOZICH | Chane Behanan's NBA dream still deferred - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Chane Behanan's NBA dream still deferred

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Chane Behanan is still waiting for an NBA team to provide an opportunity. Chane Behanan is still waiting for an NBA team to provide an opportunity.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) – On a Wednesday afternoon when Chane Behanan was supposed to be in Orlando convincing an NBA team that he deserved a serious look in the game’s most serious league, Behanan was playing basketball at the YMCA in Jeffersonville.

Four-on-four.

On a short, side court.

Against solid former high school players, but nobody the NBA is scouting.

Dismissed from the University of Louisville basketball team in December, Behanan backtracked on an oral commitment to play at Colorado State to enter the 2014 NBA Draft.

He worked out for more than a half-dozen NBA teams, but Behanan was not selected on June 26. Several media reports had Behanan booked to play in the NBA Summer League in Orlando, which started last weekend. Behanan said he heard the Magic and Knicks had strong interest.

Wrong.

Behanan remains in Louisville, working out with a personal trainer, playing pick-up ball wherever he can find a challenging game and waiting for his agent, Mike Naiditch, to tell him a pro team wants a closer look.

So far nobody has asked.

“Right now I’m looking at a few options, but still waiting around,” Behanan said. “Obviously because of the last few months and some things that I’ve went through, that put a question mark on everything.

“I’ve got to show people, not only myself, but people and the organizations in the NBA to give me their trust and believe in me.”

Behanan has better credentials than many players in the two NBA leagues this summer in Orlando or Las Vegas. He is a prime-time rebounder who delivered on the grandest stages in college basketball – earning the Most Outstanding Player award of the NCAA Tournament West Regional in 2012 and backing that up by making the Final Four all-tournament team when U of L won the 2013 NCAA title.

Last season Behanan, a junior, seemed positioned to play his way into the NBA Draft, but he partied his way out of Rick Pitino’s program. Behanan was suspended from the team in October. He returned to play in a dozen games, failing to earn his way into the starting lineup. On Dec. 30, days after the Cards lost to Kentucky, Behanan was dismissed for a violation of university policy.

Behanan later said he had a problem with substance abuse. He enrolled in a treatment program directed by John Lucas in Houston.

Behanan said that he has not talked with Pitino for several weeks, but the player takes responsibility for what happened last fall.

“I should have been more patient, patient with everything I was going through,” Behanan said.

“Have I changed? Yes, as a person I’m more patient. I feel like I wasn’t patient at all. I think that had a lot to do with it, me getting in trouble, just not being patient and doing what I want. I just went with things right away.”

Behanan, however, lacked the patience to sit out one more semester and then start playing with Colorado State in mid-December. He said he made the decision to enter the draft after consulting Lucas and his mother.

“I just felt like I was ready,” he said.

None of the 30 NBA teams were willing to invest a second-round pick – and Behanan is still waiting for a Summer League invitation.

Why?

“I still don’t know the answer, sir,” Behanan said. “If I had that answer, I’d tell you. In my mind I’m better than all (of the players invited to the Summer League). Put me in front of all of them. I’ll compete.”

NBA teams have reason to be cautious. The off-the-court issues. The time missed last season. Behanan has a power forward’s game in a small forward’s body. His jumper and ball-handling need fine-tuning.

Still, Behanan is a better and more proven player than a string of guys who have earned summer league invitations. Does that upset him?

“It does,” he said. “But then again, I’m happy for those guys. They did the right things.

“I’m not one of those guys who says that I should be there because they’re there. They did the right things. I didn’t do the right things in order to get that opportunity. They made their dreams come true. I was not as serious as I am now about making my dream come true.”

Behanan trains at a facility on River Road and chases the most challenging pick-up games he can find. On Wednesday he played four-on-four with guys like former Jeff High star Darryl Baker and Chris Whitehead, a former Indiana all-star from New Albany.

“I wouldn’t say he’s the best player out there, just the biggest,” Whitehead said, laughing.

“He’s good,” Baker said. “He can do everything.”

Everything, except convince an NBA team to give him a chance.

“I’m praying that it’s God’s blessing,” Behanan said. “If I don’t (get the chance), I know the reason why and I’m willing to fight to get back. I started at the bottom and (I’m ready to do that again) in the D-League or overseas or whatever.”

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