Louisville basketball prepares for Pikeville

The University of Louisville's first exhibition game will be against Pikeville on Thursday night at the KFC Yum Center. Here are a few notes about the Cardinals heading into the first game of the season against another opponent.


University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino talked about the suspensions of two players on his weekly radio show on Tuesday night.

Sophomore Chane Behanan will miss both exhibition games, while sophomore Kevin Ware will miss the Pikeville game on Thursday night.

Behanan, who started 37 games last season and averaged 9.5 points and 7.5 rebounds a game, has been in hot water with Pitino. The coach said the Bowling Green, Ky., native "didn't do what he was supposed to do this summer."

So, Pitino said on media day recently that Behanan would be suspended for the Pikeville game and not be allowed to speak with the media until after the first semester is complete. He's now added the Bellarmine game next week and said he hasn't ruled out keeping Behanan out of the opener against Manhattan.

"Chane didn't have the best summer in the world," Pitino said. "He didn't live in the gym like the rest of the guys. I think the rest of the guys celebrated for about a week, I think he just had an extended period of time.

"He will catch up. They're all going to play, but he just has some catching up to do. It will take him some time, but he'll get there."

Pitino said he's not fretting the Behanan situation as much because he said freshman Montrezl Harrell is ready to step into the lineup.

"I don't worry about it because Montrezl has beat him out," Pitino said. "Its just part of it. Now, if Chane didn't have these little suspensions would he beat him out, who knows? We know Chane is not going to play, so Montrezl has beat him out.

"When Chane is ready and ready to suit up, will he beat him out? Who knows? We'll find out. They are different. Chane is getting there. He's going to catch up and is going to be very, very good. He made some mistakes like they all do."


Pitino confirmed on Tuesday that his starting lineup for the Pikeville exhibition game would likely be the lineup for the opener against Manhattan.

Peyton Siva will run the point guard spot, while he has Russ Smith at the two spot and Luke Hancock at the three. The Cards will start Montrezl Harrell at forward and Gorgui Dieng at center.

"I think that will be the starting lineup for Manhattan," Pitino said. "Peyton Siva has really improved the most of any player.

"Every time Russ Smith is at the two-guard spot, you see a different basketball player. He's finally buying into what we are trying to accomplish and is doing some really good things on the court."

Pitino said he liked the lineup because with Siva, Smith and Hancock, the Cardinals have "like three point guards on the floor."

"All three of those guys can create their own shots and we haven't had that in some time," he said. "Kyle (Kuric) and Chris (Smith) were good basketball players but they really couldn't create their own shots."


Former Kentucky Mr. Basketball Elisha Justice, who spent the last two seasons at Louisville and earned the nickname ‘Bullet,' is now at Pikeville.

Justice, who left U of L after last season to be closer to his family, is a junior at Pikeville but is out for a few weeks with a bone bruise in his left knee. He likely won't see any action for four weeks.

But he will get his Final Four ring on Thursday night.

"We're going to give him his ring either way," Pitino said of Justice. "We've waited for this game to give it to him."

Justice played in 25 games last season, finishing with 23 points, nine assists and six steals in 4.9 minutes a game.


Pitino noting that Siva was 3-0 in the Red-White scrimmages and Behanan was 0-3 in the three contests:

"I asked the staff what they thought Chane would say when I pointed that out and they all said the same thing, ‘I didn't play with Peyton'," Pitino said with a chuckle. "And that's a pretty good line."

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