UK Men's Basketball

Louisville's Behanan excited about matchup with 'best friend' Kidd-Gilchrist

Louisville's Chane Behanan has waited more than a year to play Kidd-Gilchrist. "It's just going to be two top college players ... going neck and neck trying to get the victory," he said.
Louisville's Chane Behanan has waited more than a year to play Kidd-Gilchrist. "It's just going to be two top college players ... going neck and neck trying to get the victory," he said. ASSOCIATED PRESS

As a high school prospect, Chane Behanan felt underestimated by college recruiters. He saw competing against the more celebrated Michael Gilchrist, as the player was then known, as a means to a greater basketball profile.

"Kind of a Kobe-and-LeBron thing," Behanan said in June of 2010. "That's kind of the itch I got. Two good players going head to head."

Alas, that tantalizing competition never happened on the recruiting circuit.

But with Saturday's Kentucky-Louisville game making such a duel possible, Behanan downplayed the idea of such an individual showdown. He's settled in as a promising first-year player at U of L. And fellow freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, as he's now known, is a UK team leader.

"Gilchrist, 'bestest' friend ever," Behanan said after Louisville lost to Georgetown this week. "That's my best friend."

The two spoke as recently as this past summer, the U of L player said.

"All best wishes to him and his team," Behanan said. "Going to come in there and (display) hard work. They've got a good player, and so do we."

When speaking of Kidd-Gilchrist as a way to raise his profile, Behanan was at the Top 100 Camp, an annual gathering of top prospects in Charlottesville, Va., sponsored by the NBA Players Association. Behanan would be named the event's Most Outstanding Player in 2010. Kidd-Gilchrist won that designation in 2009, but chose not to attend in 2010 in order to try out for a U.S. Under-17 team.

After Kentucky beat Lamar earlier this week, Kidd-Gilchrist kept a poker face and a poker demeanor when asked about Behanan once craving a showdown.

"All right," the UK player said. "So be it. I don't have a problem with that.

"I'm going to play my game, and he's going to play his game. I have no problem. That's just basketball, right there."

Behanan, too, dismissed the importance of the showdown he once desired.

"Me and Gilchrist? No, it's just going to be two top college players/used-to-be high school players just going neck and neck trying to get the victory for each team," he said. "Just something to have fun with. I'm really excited about Saturday."

Herald-Leader staff writer Mark Maloney contributed to this article.

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