HALIL KANACEVIC leaves tomorrow for Italy, where he will begin his professional career immediately with Virtus Roma in the Serie A, the top level of competition in that country. Kanacevic, who graduated from Saint Joseph's in December and just finished off his college career by being named the Most Outstanding Player in the Atlantic 10 Tournament and playing in his first NCAA Tournament, will finish out the season with Virtus Roma and have some familiar names on his team - Phil Goss from Drexel, Jimmy Baron from Rhode Island and Trevor Mbakwe from Minnesota.
Kanacevic, who was honored at last night's annual Big 5 banquet as a member of the first team, finished his college career with perhaps the most unique combination of statistics in Big 5 history: 1,163 points, 1,028 rebounds, 407 assists and 220 blocks.
When the Hawks won the A-10 title in Brooklyn, Kanacevic was sensational, averaging 15.3 points and 14.3 points rebounds in the wins over Dayton, St. Bonaventure and VCU.
Steve Bilsky won't be retired for long. The Penn athletic director is leaving that job in June, but will become the Big 5's executive director in July.
"It is a real honor to represent my friends and colleagues at La Salle, Saint Joseph's, Temple, Villanova, and, of course, Penn," Bilsky said in a statement. "Sixty years ago, the athletic directors had a vision that became an enterprise that has never been matched by any city in our country. While collegiate athletics has certainly changed over time, I can say proudly that the commitment to this institution called the Big 5 remains as strong as ever."
According to the Big 5 release, "Bilsky's role will be to consult with the schools and facilitate related activity, including Big 5 competition, community partnerships, corporate sponsorships and special events." He "will also chair the recently formed Big 5 Advisory Board made up of distinguished alumni from all five schools."
Bilsky, a terrific guard at Penn in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was Penn AD for 20 years after serving in the same position at George Washington.