Behanan focused and taking it serious

University of Louisville forward Chane Behanan started his junior season with a ton of promise on Saturday, amassing 25 points and 13 rebounds in the first Red-White scrimmage of the season. Cardinal Authority has the latest on Behanan and what is different for the power forward this season.

Chane Behanan didn't start his sophomore season at the University of Louisville on the good list of coach Rick Pitino.

Pitino said Behanan didn't take the summer time seriously and spent much of last season in the doghouse for the Cardinals.

But that's not the case this season.

The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Behanan seemingly has listened to Pitino's words of encouragement this time and said he's coming into his junior season with "a new outlook" that includes an improved game.

"I wish I would have listen to him (last year), to be honest," Behanan said, noting that was "real talk" about his coach.

"I was just so caught up in college life and not really – I won't say taking it serious – but just not taking it serious."

Pitino often chided Behanan last season even with the Cincinnati native averaging 9.8 points and 6.5 rebounds a game. He was suspended for the two exhibition games and wasn't allowed to talk to the media until the second semester of school last season.

"I wish I had listened," Behanan said.

Behanan said this offseason was different. The Cardinals won a national title and he made sure his game improved in the offseason.

"I have been in the gym, working on my shooting and everything else," he said. "I am just giving 100 percent. I feel confident, better. I worked hard on my dribbling and my jumper, not taking plays off and getting into good shape."

In the first Red-White scrimmage, Behanan was noticeably in better shape and his game was much more advanced that it was last season. He had 25 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and three assists in 39 minutes.

"I just try to take everything into consideration that people tell me," he said. "I take it into consideration what people tell me and try to go out and do it."

Behanan then added that if he does "exactly what coach Pitino asks, then I will be straight."

Behanan has made an impression not only on the coaches but also his teammates.

"He's a competitor and he battles," senior Luke Hancock said. "He's really kind of taking his game to another level. He's playing hard and looks great."

Behanan said he and Montrezl Harrell are going to "make each other better" because they're battling each other every day in practice.

"We push each other every day and that's how we get better," he said. "With me, he is taller and I will be going against that the whole season. It'll help me."

Pitino has said Behanan went through a sophomore slump last season but is expecting big things from him this season.

"Chane is like Russ (Smith) – less is more," Pitino said. "Less dribbling is more. He played excellent and looked great."

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