Bowling Green High forward Chane Behanan, a five-star basketball prospect according to the Rivals.com recruiting service, committed to Louisville on Tuesday. After the announcement, he said that Kentucky's already star-studded recruiting class of 2011 affected his decision.
"That played in it a lot," he said. "Knowing the guys they got. They play my position."
Behanan said that Louisville represented an "easier slate" to get playing time.
UK has received commitments from two well-regarded big men, Kyle Wiltjer and Anthony Davis, in the high school class of 2011. Plus, the Cats have commitments from two top-five national prospects in wing Michael Gilchrist and point guard Marquis Teague.
"He has self-confidence," Bowling Green Coach D.J. Sherrill said of Behanan. But, Sherrill added, "he started looking at it from a common-sense perspective."
Behanan, a Cincinnati native who moved to Bowling Green a year ago, averaged 21.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.8 blocks in leading the Purples to a 28-4 record last season. Making a college choice now frees him to concentrate on his high school team's chances of advancing to the Kentucky Sweet 16, the player said.
Behanan's announcement showed that Kentucky does not get every prospect it wants. Or did it?
Behanan suggested that UK's scholarship offer while he was traveling to Louisville for a visit might have been more ploy than an indication of sincere interest.
"Kind of funny," he said. "The only time they seemed to offer (a scholarship) was because I was going to Louisville."
When asked about his reaction to the UK offer, Behanan said, "I was excited. I was happy about it."
Then he added, "I had to make the right choice for me."
Behanan, a 6-foot-6 power forward, is undersized as a power player on the college level. However, his combination of bulk (270 pounds), nimbleness and physical presence intrigues recruiting analysts.
"He's a wide-body who is also athletic," analyst Jerry Meyer of Rivals.com said. "He's explosive. ... He plays with a chip on his shoulder. I've seen plenty of players back down from him."
Behanan said he had been likened to such players as Paul Pierce, Terrence Williams and former UK All-American Jamal Mashburn. He had been considering West Virginia, Cincinnati, Texas and Kentucky among other schools.
Sherrill said that U of L's early entry into the recruiting picture was a "big motivation" in Behanan's decision. Louisville Coach Rick Pitino also made a good impression by being ever-present at Behanan's games this summer, Sherrill said.
"Coach Pitino saw Chane play 20 times this summer, Sherrill said. "He was everywhere."
Behanan also liked how Pitino analyzed the player's game. "He understood his strengths and weaknesses," Sherrill said.
Pitino saw him as a "point forward," or a player with size who could initiate the offense, Behanan said.
When asked what his role would be at Louisville, Behanan said, "Hopefully, I'm going to be the go-to guy."