Saint Joseph's forward Halil Kanacevic has been suspended for two games as a result of an obscene gesture during Tuesday's loss at Villanova.
"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," stated SJU director of athletics Don DiJulia in a Wednesday statement. "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."
Kanacevic was spotted on television extending middle fingers towards the Villanova student section after connecting on a three-point shot in the second half which gave the visitors a 50-47 advantage. The Wildcats eventually posted a 65-61 victory.
"There is no place for obscene gestures or personal outbursts directed at anyone," said Hawks head coach Phil 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."
The 6-foot-8, 256-pounder is averaging 8.1 points per game and tied for team- best in assists per game with 3.6. He totaled four points, seven rebounds, four assists, five turnovers, two blocks and two steals in the setback.
"My actions were wrong and embarrassing and I strongly regret them. I made a mistake and I accept total responsibility for my behavior," Kanacevic said. "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."
The ban will be in effect for 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.
The junior and Staten Island native can return to practice and team activities on December 19 and will be eligible to play in the Hawks' New Year's Eve game at Drexel.