Pitino Says Russ & Dieng Will Stay In The Draft. Behanan Will Return To School

russ chane behanan

C.L. Brown, the Louisville beat writer for the Courier-Journal caught up with Rick Pitino following the Cardinal’s championship celebration at the KFC Yum! Center to get an update on the future of three members of this year’s team.

At this point, Pitino says Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng will stay in the draft, while Chane Behanan will return to school. Midway through the season, Pitino said that he was encouraging all three to test the waters before making a decision. He also said that their return would depend on if they were going to be first round draft picks or not. As of right now, Gorgui Dieng is the only one who is projected to be taken in the first round.

Dieng and Smith could both end up returning unless they sign with an agent. Here is a little more information on how exactly the process works for players who declare for the draft, but then decide to return to school.

April 10: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Application Deadline
April 15: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Response Deadline
April 16: NCAA Early Entry “Withdrawal” Deadline
April 28: NBA Draft Early Entry Eligibility Deadline (11:59 pm ET)
May 2: NBA Draft Early Entry Candidates Released

Unfortunately the “testing the waters” process isn’t allowed anymore. According to NCAA Proposal No. 2010-24, “student-athletes interested in ‘testing the waters’ of the NBA draft [are required] to remove their name from consideration before the first day of the spring National Letter of Intent signing period.”

I think it’s safe to say that Russ Smith is as good as gone. Gorgui Dieng is likely gone as well, but it really wouldn’t be a surprise if he decided to come back for his senior season. Dieng has said many times in recent weeks that the NBA isn’t going anywhere and he enjoys college. However, Rick Pitino has been saying for months now that Gorgui Dieng will not be back.

About Nick Coffey

Nick Coffey
Nick Coffey is the creator and lead publisher for TheCardinalConnect.com. Along with covering Louisville basketball, football and recruiting, Nick has worked in sports talk radio for over three years.


  1. And yet rumors on the street abound that Dieng will stay.

  2. Cynthia Crockett-Howell

    Russ Smith needs to stay in school…but his self-center nature will make him think he will succeed..good riddance—a mistake and I am tired of his reckless actions—Louisville gave you a chance when no one else would—and this how you repay them—look at another UL player Samuel you went to NBA undrafted but played for the minimum 345k for 2 years – got cut now playing in Israel for $12k-24k a year—and no education—-goodbye Russ ….thanks for the ride—but this decision of not getting your education and more basketball. will be costly

    • Screw you… Seriously.

    • ^^^ CLUELESS ^^^

      Russ, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. You helped hang a banner. Best wishes in the NBA.

    • Wow, can’t understand the anger you have toward’s a guy that just helped this team win the title. Aganist a young man that has had nothing his whole life. I agree there were plays that were out of control, reckless and even stupid at times. How do you think you would do? Hell chances are you’ve never played any kind of sport, so you couldn’t begin to understand what these guys have to go thourgh or put up with. Russ needs to do whats best for him and his family. If he comes back great, I’m sure there are a few things he can work on, but at the same time he would be able help with the incoming freshman. This isn’t a simple system to learn, just ask Kevin, it took him almost a year and a half to really grasp it completly. If he goes to the NBA fine, we should wish him the best, after all he has done and given to this school and program. Like him or not he did help in making it better…

    • you must be the most ungrateful fan in existence! go be a UK fan. Dont wanty you!!!!!

      • keep your own problem players. We had enough uncoachables this year. By the way – congrats on your championship. Am a Louisville fan until them play UK. Then all bets are off. I still love Pitino. You can thank him for my being a fan at all.

  3. Cynthia Crockett-Howell

    Gorgui….stay….NBA is not going anywhere , think your parents want you to get your education—Education first!! Make your parents proud…I understand about the age —but there is nothing like your college experiences…horn in and improve upon basketball skills and knowledge….if you decide to leave…you will be missed—don’t throw yourself to soon in the materialistic and cutthroat world so soon…..

  4. I think Russ dad is putting a pressure on him to go by his statements he has made. In my own opinion it’s not his choice but Russ Jr, and its not fair to him to be spoken for. On the other side of Dieng I do believe he loves college life and continue education. I know he could go as a first round pick, but he wants to learn more and improve on the court. I have been past my school days, but see peer pressure does still take over ppls decisions.

  5. @cynthia: Gorgui is already graduating this may. So he has his education.

    He has a tuff decision, I support him fully either way. If he goes I hope my Pacers draft him lol Russ same thing, I support him fully. He brought us a championship and I can’t hate on him. Don’t forget tho, we have Behanan, Ware, Hancock, Blackshear, Montrezl, possibly SVT, also Merra has a slim chance to return. He could redshirt last year and come back cuz they have a graduate class for his major at UofL. Plus we have Rozier, Gill, Akoy, and Jones coming in. Honestly I’m pretty excited for next year already! Lol so if they go thru the draft, good luck and best wishes. Thank You for the memories and the championship of course!

  6. Oh also not to leave anybody out we will also have Mathiang and Price(maybe) next season too.

  7. No way in hell and u know it kentucky going to kick yalls ass and people that are good go pro live with it we did y’all’s players deserve to chase there dreams and there tittle it’s how it is now I hate louisville fans but not ur players or ur coach y’all were the better team this year ill admit that but it’s over back to second string in this state bitchs wasn’t it funny less then a hour later after y’all teams cut down the nets the talk was uk being the next national champion hahahahaha fuck louisville

    • You look like the bitch on a UL site,after what UK looked like this year.The trophy belongs to us. Thats a fact you are gonna have to wrap your narrow little mind around and accept.PATHETIC!!!!

    • I live in Okolona , if you would like to meet me at the bowling alley on Saturday I will gladly give you the chance to kick a cardinal fans ass, but we all know tat you trail or trash one tooth hill jacks are the biggest chicken shits that ever lived , so fuck you you blow hard kensucky boy…….

    • Go troll on someone else’s site. No one on here gives a damn what your inbred redneck opinion is. Kentucky sucked this year, deal with it. Yes Kentucky is going to have a killer squad next year, but it won’t mean anything after cal runs it into the ground.

    • Robert Morris….nuff said asshole.

    • So how did UK do in the post-season? Oh, what post-season? LOL

    • Typical UK fan. Must be a graduate. There’s not one punctuation mark or capital letter in your entire, ridiculous rant.
      We really don’t care what outsiders think. We love our team, and our guys.
      It was much more meaningful to watch this team work and grow, knowing they were going to be good enough to win the Championship this year.
      You all can have all the ‘one and done’ players you want. There’s just no emotinoal connection to them.
      I wouldn’t trade places with UK for any amount of money!
      Card fans are proud, and don’t need approval from anyone else.

    • Your a sick puppy…asshole. Go move to fucking Lexington cunt

  8. If Dieng and Smith both go along with Siva ofcourse,does it free up a scholarship?

  9. I looked at the article that I found on a search engine cause those players could have made it close but now my narrow mind will wrap around our tittle next year how does it feel to know I’m right keep that 3rd tittle close u won’t see another one for a long long time bitch wish ware the best should have been ur leg

  10. I’m not worried about UK can its boat load of freshmen. Cal got lucky in 2012 cause they all clicked. That don’t happen often. If that wasnt he case then all NBA teams would be in deadlock ties all the time. We are gonna be killer next year with Luuuuuke leading the team. He knows how to get the team going. Most of our team has tasted that blood and want more. 2 final fours and a championship should tell you…. We ain’t gonna be messed with next year. I can’t wait to shock the BBN at the RUSS Arena. Cal cant coach unless he has a freshmen come in and help him. Did you see how out of whacks the man looked last year after Noel was gone? 2012 was fluke and won’t happen again because a team like that comes along once in a million years. Good Luck UofL! Show these Robbert Morris, I mean UK fans how a team is suppose to defend a title and not let it drag in the mud.

    • kueqfbaeoicidabil

      Luke has a set shot. He cannot create his own plays and relied on Siva to get him the ball

      • Which one of the final 4 games did you not watch. Luke had drive after drive to the rack and scored. Pretty such thats creating his own shot. UK fans are soooooo basketball intellagent. If the kitty cats had a gaurd half as good as Siva they may have NOT gotten beat by the Robert Morris School of Dentistry.

  11. Those who have a clue about the game know what’s up. Russ was not ranked coming out of highschool. His chances of even being considered to play in the nba were very slim if they existed at all. Russ came here and accomplished goals that a lot of players never came close to. Russ plays with a lot of heart so I know his passion for the game has to be great enough for him to want to play in the nba some day. Sure I think russ could come back and develope more skills before he leaves but who is to say that next year he will have as much success? Then his nba stock will fall. I put it this way.. If russ stays it will be for the university but if he leaves it will be for him and his family. And I completely understand and respect his very difficult decision. Also can u imagine watching a player u play ball with everyday fall to a freak accidental injury that results in his bone popping out of his leg? As a personal fitness trainer and as someone who has been around sports for a long time.. U never know when u could step out on that court and suffer an injury that can be carrer ending. So at this point in russ smith’s carrer he possibly would rather face that chance will he is getting payed to do so. Thank u russ for sticking out your time at uofl and not giving up your freshman year. U will always be loved as a Card

    • Another thing that Russ has to consider is that the predictions are that next year’s draft will be much stronger than this year’s. So if he is a 2nd round draft pick this year, has a similar year to this year, and there are a ton of underclassmen that have spectacular years, he might go undrafted next year. I would love to see him play another year at U of L, but I agree that it would be horrible to see a freak injury or an off year or whatever hurt his possibility of at least getting a shot at the league. And I know he could develop further on his game, but there is honestly no guarantee that he would improve enough to drastically improve his draft stock. Either way I certainly wish all those guys the best. Very tough decision for such a young age.

  12. I find it extremely funny how UGay fans always find time to hang out on our sites. Can’t live with the fact that your program went down in history the wrong way. It’s fans like you that make me want to lean into this 250 lb haymaker and remove that last molded tooth you have in your mouth. It’s easy as hell to talk tough behind a computer but apparently you haven’t witnessed the videos on the internet of people getting tracked down and recording their ass getting beat!! You bum ass jerks are pathetic in every since of the word. It’s never set in your mind how ignorant it looks to go to your rivals page and trash talk them. To take your time in setting up an account and reading (or sounding out) the words in all the statuses, picking which one you want to try an talk crazy on. We most definitely appreciate the attention you jealous pieces of shit show. Go pawn some of them rings an pay for your next recruiting class, or learn to live with the fact that we did ours without the help of World Wide Wess. And trust me, my Cadillac has good highway mileage so if you want to meet up we most definitely can, but you don’t have the heart to do that. So I’m going to sit back and read about how tough you may be and laugh at your wishes of “next years” team, while I count down the timing on these NCAA violations that will start to appear. We are The University of Louisville, and we ride for ours!! Yaw need to pay the bill on that Pap Smear that Dr. Robert Morris gave you pussy ass jerks!! lmao…East Up, L’s Up, I Salute you!!! Waaatttchhhhittt….

    • first time on the site….however, if your attitude and language is what is the norm here…not surprised that UK fans can’t like both schools. I’ve always watched both schools and wish them both well. The only time I cheer against Louisville is when they play UK. Love both of them, but maybe not so much on the fans.

  13. And yet – people wonder why half the world hates UK fans….go figure.
    GO CARDS!!!

  14. While I know Russ is talented, I think it would be wiser for him to return to Louisville. If the last two games of the post season were any indicator, he still has big ups and big downs that need leveling out. He puts himself in difficult positions and gets the shot off, but for that reason he’s a bit of a wildcard. I feel like a lot of pressure does indeed come from his father. All the talk of his joining the draft that I’ve seen has come from his father, not him. I just truly believe Russ would benefit from another year in college basketball, to establish extreme consistency in the paint and outside of it, and experience in high-pressure situations involving those big men down low that seem to shake him. Obviously all of what I’m saying is pointless — he’s going to the Draft. I just feel like another year would up his stock. Come what may, but I know he helped bring Louisville a championship.

    • But I AM glad that Behanan is staying. I have a huge soft spot for that boy, and he brought it when it mattered in the championship. I just hope he can do more of that the whole game, all of next season. And Dieng, I know he enjoys college. I cross my fingers that he stays, too.

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