“Away from the lines, he just did not do the right things, over and over and over. The university has gone to the mat for him - as well as (athletic director) Tom Jurich - in giving him every opportunity to make it at the university. Unfortunately it has come to a difficult detour.”
What Behanan did to draw a university suspension wasn’t disclosed and probably never will be because of privacy laws. Pitino said it wasn’t grades, and the decision had nothing to do with the attempted sale of Behanan's NCAA ring, which reportedly was stolen.
It was somewhat perplexing that Behanan has been allowed to stay in school and live in a dorm with other athletes. He just can’t play – at least at Louisville.
Pitino said Behanan’s options include transferring to another college or hiring an agent and possibly turning pro.
The bigger question is whether Behanan can learn from his mistakes and make his mark on the world, or if he will follow a destructive path?
“Like I tell our guys all the time, you can’t place blame on your backgrounds,” Pitino said. “You can’t do it. That doesn’t help you make it. You’ve got to use your backgrounds to motivate you to get out of those backgrounds that are difficult. It’s got to be a motivating factor.”
Behanan has seen the best and worst of life. Shortly after arriving at Louisville, a close friend back home was gunned down. Then, last season, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound forward stood on a ladder cutting down the nets following a dramatic national championship victory over Michigan.
The experience has been tough on Pitino.
“It’s aged me,” he said. “I’m old enough, I don’t need to be aged any more. But it has - greatly. And it’s had a bad ending. Sometimes things age you and have a great ending.