St. Joseph's forward Halil Kanacevic, who helped lead the Hawks to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2008, signed a professional contract with Virtus Roma of Italy.

Virtus Roma competes in Basketball League Series A, which is the National Professional First Division and the highest level of club completion in that country.

The 6-foot-8 Kanacevic leaves on Wednesday. He said the team has a few games left in the regular season and then will compete in the playoffs.

"I am going to get thrown into the fire," he said in a telephone interview. "This is a great opportunity for me."

Kanacevic, who has earned a bachelor's degree in communications from St. Joseph's, played three years there after beginning his college career at Hofstra.

Pepper in showcase. Temple's Dalton Pepper, a Pennsbury High graduate, was selected to compete at the Portsmouth Invitational in Virginia.

The four-day, 12-game tournament, which begins Wednesday, showcases 64 of the best college seniors in front of representatives from every NBA team.

Pepper led the Owls in scoring (17.5 ppg.) and three-pointers made (84). He also ranked second in assists (74) and steals (32).

- Marc Narducci