Behanan picks Louisville

Rick Pitino recruited Chane Behanan harder than any college basketball coach in the country. Tuesday, the four-star power forward chose Louisville over Ohio State, Kentucky and West Virginia, giving Pitino a significant recruiting victory over John Calipari, Bob Huggins and Thad Matta.

Rick Pitino is the happiest college basketball coach in Kentucky after winning a key recruiting battle over John Calipari, Bob Huggins and Thad Matta.

Chane Behanan, the MVP of the 2010 NBA Top 100 camp, told before his press conference at Bowling Green (KY) HS Tuesday morning that he had verbally committed to Louisville, spurning Ohio State, Kentucky and West Virginia.

"I'm committing to Louisville," Behanan told "I felt comfortable there. I just bonded real well with the team and the coaches. It's close to my people in Cincinnati. I just based it all off my comfort zone and the location."

Behanan, the leading candidate for Kentucky Mr. Basketball honors, solidified his decision after making an official visit to Louisville over the weekend.

Rated the No. 29 prospect nationally, Behanan, a 6'7, 250-pound power forward, becomes the third nationally-rated member of Louisville's 2011 recruiting class, joining Chicago, Ill., shooting guard Wayne Blackshear and Jeffersontown, Ky., center Zach Price. Blackshear is rated the No. 12 prospect in the nation by, while Price is No. 53.

Chane Behanan chose Louisville over Ohio State, Kentucky and WVU during a press conference Tuesday morning at his high school.
Behanan was one of four Top 35 prospects to visit Louisville last weekend, joining Quincy Miller, Deuce Bello and Josiah Turner. Behanan's commitment could get the ball rolling for Pitino, who is trying hard to land a blockbuster Top 5 class. The Cardinals are the presumed frontrunner for both Miller,'s No. 2 prospect, and Bello, one of the most explosive wing prospects nationally.

"If they get Quincy Miller, Chane Behanan, Deuce Bello....I think you're looking at a team in 2011 that competes for the Big East championship and is one of the better teams in the country," recruiting analyst Evan Daniels said. "If they get some of these guys they're going to be in the hunt for a title."

Behanan had an outstanding summer, rising from the bottom of's Top 100 (No. 89) to borderline McDonald's All-American status. Behanan's rise started with strong showings last spring at the Pitt Jam Fest and King James Invitational, continued at the prestigious NBA Top 100 Camp, where he earned top player honors, and culminated with a strong July during the evaluation period.

How does Pitino plan to use Behanan in his pressing style of play? Probably in a variety of different way, both inside and out.

"He said he likes my power inside and I can go outside, too," Behanan said recently. "I'd play the three and four position that's how he explained it. He was comparing me to the players he's had in the past and he told me he can make me a professional player one day."

Before choosing Louisville, Behanan's recruitment took several twists and turns. Two years ago, the Cincinnati native verbally committed to Mick Cronin's Bearcats before re-opening his recruitment and transferring to Bowling Green last year. This summer, Louisville and West Virginia emerged as the two leading candidates for Behanan, though Kentucky and Ohio State made late charges to sway him, even landing recent visits.

But in the end, Rick Pitino was able to close the deal, landing one of his top recruiting targets. It's a significant recruiting win for Pitino, who targeted Behanan during his junior season and never let up this summer.

Tuesday, Chane Behanan rewarded Pitino's hard work and effort with a huge commitment for the Cardinals.

Behanan Breakdown

Dave Telep, National Hoops Recruiting Director: "Chane was outstanding at NBA camp and the result has been a meteoric rise this summer. He's playing like a baby (Charles) Barkley inside and can step to mid-range. His biggest thing now is his motivation to prove to himself and observers that he's a high-major guy who can impact early."

Evan Daniels, Recruiting Analyst: "Behanan is a different piece to the puzzle for Louisville. He's an animal in the paint and can really rebound, defend and score in the paint. He's a blue-collar guy who goes to work around the basket."

Mike Hughes, Editor and Publisher, "Chane Behanan is fun to watch. He can be unstoppable offensively around the basket, and relentlessly pursues rebounds. He has surprising quickness, and a diverse skill set. He can knock down the midrange shot, handle the ball on the wing and doesn't get enough credit for his passing and ability to create scoring chances for his teammates."

Cardinal Authority Top Stories