St. Joseph (PA) junior forward Halil Kanacevic will serve a two game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct in Tuesday's game against Villanova.
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's University junior forward Halil Kanacevic (Staten Island, N.Y.) will serve a suspension for two games and a week of practice, as a result of his unsportsmanlike conduct during Tuesday night's Big 5 men's basketball game at Villanova University, head coach Phil Martelli announced today.
The suspension will include games with Fairfield on December 22 and Iona on December 28, and Kanacevic will not participate in practice and any team activities for one week, with the exception of the team's annual Christmas charity event.
Kanacevic can return to practice and team activities on December 19 and will be eligible to play in the December 31st game at Drexel.
"There is no place for obscene gestures or personal outbursts directed at anyone," said Martelli. "We have always sought to conduct ourselves in a respectful manner to our University and to our opponents, and this behavior was unacceptable and inexcusable, even in the heat of the moment."
Kanacevic's gesture toward the Villanova student section followed his three-point field goal that gave Saint Joseph's a 50-47 lead midway through the second half. The Wildcats would come back to defeat the Hawks, 65-61, at The Pavilion on the Villanova University campus.
"The tradition of the Philadelphia Big 5 and the reputation of Saint Joseph's University are greater than any one game or any one player," added SJU director of athletics Don DiJulia. "In a meeting earlier today with myself and Coach Martelli, Halil was appropriately remorseful and accepting of this sanction. We have reinforced the expectations of our student-athletes, on and off the court."
"Further, integrity and respectful conduct have always been hallmarks of the Saint Joseph's athletics program and the University itself. We hope this incident serves as a 'teachable moment' for all of our coaches, student-athletes and supporters. We have also apologized to the appropriate parties at Villanova and extend that to all those who attended the game and watched on national television."
Kanacevic offered the following apology while accepting his suspension: "My actions were wrong and embarrassing and I strongly regret them. I made a mistake and I accept total responsibility for my behavior. I am sorry for the harm caused to my teammates and coaches and my actions were unbecoming of a member of our community. I sincerely apologize to both universities and to everyone who saw the game."
Saint Joseph's is now off for final exams and returns to the court on December 22 vs Fairfield.