Shortly before 2 p.m. on Monday afternoon, hours after the previous day's NBA early-entry deadline had come and gone, former Louisville forward Chane Behanan made the announcement many had expected since last week.
"I have decided that it is in my best interest to enter the NBA draft for 2014," Behanan tweeted. "This has been a difficult road for me, but I have not lost faith and confidence in myself, I will continue to work hard and grow as a person."
Behanan's tweet closes the door on the possibility of the power forward ever playing next season for Colorado State, the school he announced he'd be transferring to for his senior year three months ago. What's less clear still is whether the decision not to play for the Rams was solely Behanan's to make.
Louisville dismissed Behanan on Dec. 30 for what the school has called repeated rules violations but Behanan has since admitted were failed drug tests. He had begun working with former NBA player and longtime drug and alcohol counselor John Lucas Jr. after leaving the Cardinals but he apparently slipped up again on April 2 when he was cited for Marijuana possession in Louisville.
The question is whether that citation might have impacted Colorado State's willingness to award him a second chance. Reports surfaced last week that Behanan had decided to enter the draft, but the Louisville forward would only acknowledge he was considering that option and Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy issued a statement supporting the power forward.
"We've been in contact with Chane, and are aware that he is looking at all options to continue his playing career," Eustachy said in the statement. "We want what is best for Chane, and will support him in whatever decision he makes. We will know more in the coming days."
Regardless of why Behanan will never suit up for Colorado State, not having him limits the Rams' upside next season.
A three-year starter at Louisville, Behanan averaged 7.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a game this season before being dismissed and played a key role in Louisville's 2012-13 national title run. He delivered 15 points and 12 rebounds in the national championship game against Michigan.
Colorado State appeared to be a good fit for him because of Eustachy's ability to overcome substance abuse problems of his own and because of what the program values. Not only do the Rams emphasize rebounding – Behanan's greatest strength – they've also enjoyed success under Eustachy with transfers Colton Iverson (Minnesota), J.J. Avila (Navy) and Daniel Bejarano (Arizona).
Instead Behanan will enter the draft, a decision that will likely end with him either playing in Europe, the D-League or trying to latch on with an NBA team as an undrafted free agent.
As a 6-foot-7 back-to-the-basket scorer and rebounder, Behanan lacks the size to persuade NBA scouts he can thrive as a power forward or the perimeter skills to make it on the wing. Perhaps that could have changed had Behanan either developed his ball handling and outside shooting at Colorado State or put up a statistically dominant senior season, but now that's no longer an option.
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