Player Profile: Halil Kanacevic

Our player profile series rolls on today, just over a week from the start of the 2013-2014 Saint Joseph's basketball season. Today's focus is senior power forward Halil Kanacevic, with insight from Hawk assistant coach Dave Duda.

Last season was one filled with ups, and downs, twists, and turns for current Hawk senior Halil Kanacevic.

Kanacevic, a 6'8 forward who has slimmed down significantly since the end of last year, put together arguably the best game of his college career in an early-season upset of Notre Dame. He tallied 15 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks, and 3 steals in SJU's thrilling 79-70 win over the Fighting Irish last November.

After a strong opening to the season came a low-point in a back-breaking December loss to Villanova. Kanacavic, following a made jumper late in the game, made one of the most shocking gestures you'll see in a college game, giving the Nova student section the middle finger. That single gesture turned the course of the game (a loss), and could be argued, the course of the season as well. Halil was suspended the next two games, one of which was a home loss to Fairfield. At the end of the day, it could be argued that the obscene gesture resulted in two losses.

Now a year later, with a new physique and an apparently new approach to the game, Kanacevic is looking to end his collegiate career on an up note. "There seems to be a concentrated effort to a more mature approach thus far," Hawk assistant coach Dave Duda told Hawk Hill Hardwood.

When he is at his best, Halil is capable of impacting every facet of the game, from the low-block to the high-post. The best back-to-the-basket player on the team, Halil is also capable of hitting from the perimeter. "He's worked long hours on becoming more consistent from the perimeter with his jumper," Coach Duda continued.

Halil Kanacevic's career to date has had some truly remarkable highs as well as two crushing lows. Two years ago, he was whistled for a late-game technical at Harvard, in a game that the Hawks were leading and went on to lose. The Hawk coaching staff is hoping, and expecting, the good to outweigh the bad this season.

"We need him to be a positive leader," Duda reiterated.

The Hawks tip off the 2013-2014 season a week from tomorrow at Vermont. While point guard play and the play of freshman DeAndre Bembry has received much of the preseason focus this year, there is no downplaying just how much Halil Kanacevic means to this team, and this season. In that win in Brooklyn over Notre Dame, he was brilliant. He was brilliant against Temple, falling just one rebound and two assists shy of a triple-double in the 70-69 win at Hagan.

If that Halil shows up on a nightly basis this year, the Hawks will be a much more dangerous, and entertaining, team.

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