University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino knew he would be asked about suspended forward Chane Behanan on Saturday after the Cardinals' basketball team went through its third Red-White scrimmage of the preseason.
And Pitino had his answer ready.
The Hall of Fame coach said the U of L team has "moved on" without Behanan, who was suspended for a violation of university policy last week. Pitino said his return was a "long, long way off," and told the media this would be the "last time I talk about Chane Behanan," focusing now on his team.
"We are very disappointed in him," Pitino said of Behanan, a junior on the team. "Our team is very disappointed in him. We have very lofty goals. We're coming off back-to-back Final Fours, back-to-back league championships and to jeopardize that is an awfully selfish thing to do.
"He's not only let his teammates and his coaches, but himself down."
Pitino shot down speculation that Behanan would be back anytime soon, noting the team wants him back but it's "all up to him." Pitino said Behanan has a map of things he has to do in order to get back on the team, noting in the first week he had already missed one of those assignments.
"He knew he was on his last chance and then he broke (the rules)," Pitino said. "And he continued to break them once he was on suspension. It's totally out of our hands and in his hands, and so far everything he has put in his hands has not turned out real well right now. We're moving on, planning on playing without him.
"If the day comes when he comes back, he'll be welcomed with open arms. But trust me, that a long way from happening."
While many of his teammates seemed disappointed when asked about Behanan, the U of L players said they're hoping for the best.
"He's still our teammate but we have to move on," sophomore forward Montrezl Harrell said. "We have to play with what we have in this locker room, work hard and get ready for our first game. We hope he comes back."
Added Luke Hancock: "We want to be there and support him when we can, but we have a job as a team. We have to adapt, adjust and overcome. The fact is that we don't have him right now and that's the way it is."
Junior Wayne Blackshear, who came in to U of L in the same class as Behanan, said the team has been "thinking about him," but also said Pitino is correct and the Cardinals have to move on.
"Right now, that's life," Blackshear said. "We now Chane was a big part of us and all we can do right now is keep him in our prayers and hope he gets better."