Rick Pitino says Russ Smith and Dieng are gone, Behanan will return

By Jeff Goodman | College Basketball Insider

Gorgui Dieng and Russ Smith are gone, but Chane Behanan will return to Louisville.

Cardinals coach Rick Pitino told CBSSports.com that his junior big man and scoring guard will both leave for the NBA, but that the 6-foot-6 Behanan will almost certainly come back for his junior campaign.

Behanan later confirmed the news via social media.

Louisville also loses senior point guard Peyton Siva, whose defense and leadership were vastly underrated all season, but the Cards now become a viable Final Four contender with Bahanan back in the fold.

Louisville adds junior college point guard Chris Jones as well as floor leader Terry Rozier, who didn't qualify a year ago and spent last season at Hargrave Military Academy.

Pitino now has Jones, Luke Hancock, Wayne Blackshear, Kevin Ware, Rozier and incoming freshman Anton Gill on the perimeter -- and will have Behanan and long and talented freshman Montrezl Harrell up front. The Cards will also have Stephan Van Treese, Zach Price, 6-foot-10 Mangok Mathiang, who sat out this past season, and incoming big man Akoy Agau.

The roster may not be quite as powerful as this past season's, but Pitino certainly has enough talent to make a third consecutive Final Four appearance -- and maybe even repeat as national champions.

 
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