As his classmates, teammates and media awaited him to sit at the table on stage with his family, Bowling Green (Ky.) five-star power forward Chane Behanan hid behind the curtain. He slid out to the side to reveal a red and white polo shirt, but made it a point to cover up the logo on the left crest of his shirt. After a few seconds, Behanan finally fully walked out from behind the curtain to reveal his choice: he was heading to Louisville.
It was the end of what has been a whirlwind recruitment of the now No. 23 ranked player in the Rivals150, whose every move has been scrutinized since arriving in Bowling Green from Aiken (OH) in the summer of 2009. And leading up to his decision, it still weighed heavily on Behanan which school he would choose.
"I. Feel. Good," he said. "I do. I was stressed and now, I wasn't stressed but I was kinda getting tired of hearing from the same coaches, they saying the same things. I just had to put an end to it really quick."
There were no hats to choose from, no big frills aside from the customary refreshments of a college decision. Bowling Green coach D.G. Sherrill would've been surprised if it was any other way.
"This announcement, he could've done this announcement and we could've called everyone in here, the media and all, but it was important for him to do it with his teammates," Sherrill said. "He made sure all of his teammates today, he stopped them all and said, 'Make sure you come.' That was important for him and that tells you that measure of that kid's character. It's a great day for him, a great day for our program, but I'm tickled for him."
Behanan said he chose the Cardinals out of a top five that also included Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio State. He made an official visit this past weekend to Louisville for the Cardinals' season-opener against Kentucky. And while he was impressed by Louisville's new state of the art arena, the Yum! Center, Behanan said there were other factors as well.
"It was distance, coaches, players, just the comfort-zone I had when I went to the city and the school," he said. "I bonded with the players real well and I played good with them in open gym when I went on my official visit.
"I've been seeing Coach (Rick Pitino come and watch me play during the summer more than any other coach. That showed that he was real interested and that was a big plus for me. I bonded with him, talking on the phone with him, mostly every two days, a week. I bonded with him real well."
Behanan's uncle, Bill Jackson, who's been assisting Behanan in his recruitment, said that though WKU wasn't named in Behanan's top five, the Toppers were a big player in his recruitment. Jackson said he was impressed by how coach Ken McDonald and his staff conducted themselves and how well they accepted Behanan on his many visits to campus and to other functions.
"I know he didn't say it, but I want everyone to know how close Western was in the running," Jackson said. "They stayed close to his family, so they were always in the running. Recruiting is a dirty business. There were times they could've stepped out of bounds, but they didn't. They always said that, 'if something happened, we'll be right here.'"
Behanan, who's been listed and played primarily power forward at Bowling Green, will most likely be playing down at Louisville. Behanan said Pitino has told him he'll most likely be a small forward in college.
"He just said I've gotta work on the little stuff, like the dribbling, knowing when to dribble and not to dribble," Behanan said. "I'm looking forward to working on those things with him. He's a good coach. I sat down and talked to J.R. Smith and he's in the league. He said he hasn't been through a workout like that and he didn't even go to college. He didn't even know what the workout was like. He said he hasn't been through a workout like that in a long time. He said he was tired after the two workouts he did with Rick Pitino. That's a big plus."
But Sherrill said he sees Behanan in an even more versatile role.
"I think he's a two-three guy, a point-forward maybe," Sherrill said. "He can play on the perimeter. I'll tell you what he can do, he can play both spots. If you put a smaller guy on him, he's taking you to the post and he's gonna post you up and abuse him and you've seen that. If you put him in the box and a big guy has to guard him, he's gonna square that guy up and make him use his feet. He's really a matchup issue for people because he's one of those mid-size guys but his strength and his skill set allow him to do some things that a lot of kids his size can't do."
Though Behanan can't sign anything officially until November, he said this all but ends his recruitment. Now, his focus will go towards recruiting for the Cardinals and trying to add more players to play with.
"We'll be unstoppable, especially if we get Quincy Miller and Deuce Bello," Behanan said. "We'll be unstoppable if we get those two. That's we're working on right now, with Wayne Blackshear and Zach Price already committed. I think we'll be good without those other two commitments because they've got Peyton Siva still, so I think we'll do really well."
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