Pitino trying to keep Behanan 'focused'

After sitting out two exhibition games because of a suspension, Chane Behanan returned to the lineup for the University of Louisville basketball team on Sunday. Behanan had nine rebounds and eight points and then coach Rick Pitino talked about his game and his focus after the win over Manhattan.

University of Louisville sophomore Chane Behanan made a successful return to the court on Sunday in a season-opening victory over Manhattan College.

The 6-foot-6 Behanan was suspended for the two exhibition games by coach Rick Pitino for off the floor issues. Pitino said "Chane's problems are from the summer," but he returned back for Sunday's game.

Behanan had nine rebounds, eight points and three steals for the Cardinals, going 3 of 7 from the field. He had been practicing with the team since the start of practice but was just held out of the exhibitions.

"I am happy with Chane coming back," Pitino said. "Chane had an awesome practice (on Saturday) and when he continues to focus, he's going to be a heck of a basketball player. He has to remain focused."

Pitino has said Behanan is also banned from talking to the media for the first semester. He hasn't talked to the media since the Cardinal Caravan Tour stop in Bowling Green back in July.

"He just has to keep doing certain things," Pitino said. "He's not a bad kid, he just has to continue to do the things we ask him to do."

Behanan was an on the All-Big East Freshman team last season when he averaged 9.5 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. The former All-State selection from Bowling Green High School was the Most Outstanding Player at the 2012 NCAA West Regional and helped the Cardinals to the Final Four.

But during the summer Pitino has said multiple times that Behanan "didn't put the work in," like some of the other players also noting "he celebrated longer."

Behanan, according to Pitino, has been solid and working hard in the preseason. He started with a solid effort against the Jaspers.

"Chane is a college kid, like I was, like you were, like everybody was," Pitino said. "He wants to, besides basketball, have a good time in life. And there is nothing wrong with that except during basketball season. During basketball season, you have to put all your focus on the game.

"You have to have your PHD; you have to be passionate, hungry and driven. The other word that goes with passion is focus. You can't be passionate and not have focus. Yeah, I love the game and I want to work at the game but what do I want to do about it. I have to be focused on my job. He's young. Once he gets it, he can be one of the premier players I have ever coached because he is really good."

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