Former NYC PSAL Player of the Year Halil Kanacevic Voted A-10 Tournament MVP
Brooklyn, NY—The St. Joseph’s Hawks (24-9) defeated the VCU Rams (26-8), 65-61, in a very competitive final in front of 8.886 fans at the Barclays Center in which the score had been knotted eight times. Thus, the Hawks became an automatic entry into the NCAA Tournament. The Hawks are returning to the national tournament for the first time since 2008.
Three members of each of the two finalists were voted onto the A-10 All-Tournament Team, but only one, Halil Kanacevic of the Hawks, was awarded MVP honors.
The 6-8 senior was born in Staten Island, not that far from the Barclays Center. He attended Curtiss High School in his native borough. His achievements during his senior year made it unforgettable for him. He averaged a double-double, 18 points and 12 rebounds per game. He contributed mightily to compiling a school mark of 28 wins and the PSAL title. His efforts earned him the Staten Island PSAL, Class A Player of the Year.
As a freshman at Hofstra, the New Yorker started seven of his 33 game appearances. He averaged 8.6 points and 7.6 rebounds. His performances resulted in his being named to the CAA All-Rookie Team.
Kanacevic transferred to St. Joseph’s after the season ended and was required to sit out the 2010-11 season.
He played in all 34 games in his first season with the Hawks and accomplished eight double-doubles. In the following year, Kanacevic missed several games due to the death of a favorite uncle in Europe and several others because of a regrettable incident of unsportsmanlike conduct.
Kanacevic changed his jersey # from 21 to 45 to honor his uncle who died at the age of 45 and displayed his versatility as a senior by leading the Hawks in rebounds (8.7) and assists (4.4) while averaging double figures in points (10.4).
He was especially effective in the Atlantic-10 Championship Tournament this past weekend. In the semi-final against St. Bonaventure, Kanacevic scored 26 points and grabbed 17 boards. The outspoken forward downgraded the importance of those numbers, “I had a good scoring game and rebounding today, numbers-wise, but I really don’t care about it. I really never base my game on numbers. It’s my floor game for the team.”
He played an all-around superior game in the final, 11 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocked shots. Opposing Coach Shaka Smart of VCU recognized his value to his team, “He’s very, very versatile. He’s really rebounding at a high level. He did a nice job finding guys. The best thing about him is making passes.”
On the previous day, Coach Martelli of the Hawks said of the senior, “On a team full of great teammates, he’s the best teammate.” He also praised his ability to feed his teammates, “Halil is the best low-post passer and he’s the best low-post distributor.” These are reasons why Martelli has called him the “most indispensable player” on the team.
His college totals are; 1,139 points, 1,021 rebounds, 401b assists and 213 blocks. He also completed his degree requirements in December.