Written by Tom Dowd (SILive.com)
Hofstra University’s basketball staff has spent enough time on Staten Island over the last two seasons to give directions and recommend restaurants. You could find them first haunting the St. Peter’s gym in New Brighton to look at O.D. Anosike, and then at nearly every game Curtis senior Halil Kanacevic has played since New Years.
All those Verrazano Bridge tolls ended up being well worth it, as the Long Island school has secured a verbal commitment from Kanacevic to accept its Division I scholarship offer. Kanacevic can make the commitment official during the letter of intent signing period that begins April 15.
Kanacevic took his official visit to Hempstead this past weekend, meeting players and professors and watching the Pride defeat UNC-Wilmington to improve to 20-10.
"That helped a lot," said Kanacevic of the visit. "That helped tremendously. I liked Hofstra but I didn’t know much about it. It seemed like a place I could call home on the visit so that’s basically why I committed."
Kanacevic’s decision not to commit to a school during the early signing period in November ended up paying off with the offer from Hofstra, a member of the strong mid-major Colonial Athletic Association. The 6-foot-8 forward missed much of the 2008 summer recruiting season with an injured ankle and had about six offers, mostly from Northeast Conference schools, in the fall.
That number grew as Kanacevic averaged 17.9 points and dominated games with his rebounding, shot-blocking and passing. Ultimately, he had more than 15 scholarship offers to choose from, and narrowed his options down to Boston University, Manhattan College and Quinnipiac.
"I felt real comfortable with the coaching staff and players," said Kanacevic. "The basketball is great. The Colonial is a very good league. And it fits my needs academically."
Kanacevic is another New York City commitment for a program that has aggressively recruited the PSAL and CHSAA. He’s expected to contribute immediately with the Pride graduating six seniors, including four forwards.
Hofstra spreads the floor offensively with a single post player, and Kanacevic’s versatility, athleticism and perimeter skills make him a candidate for either forward position.
"They like my shooting range and versatility," said Kanacevic. "They think I can pick and pop and post up, take big guys outside and take smaller guys down low."
With the recruiting process complete, Kanacevic’s last order of business on the high school level is in the ongoing PSAL playoffs. The Warriors have their eyes on the PSAL A championship and play FDR tomorrow in the second round, with the winner going on to Sunday’s quarterfinals.
"With a lot of teams showing so much interest in him I’m glad he was able to come to a decision in the midst of all this basketball," said Curtis coach Rich Buckheit.
"I think the coaches there are outstanding. It’s a great program, a great fit for him. It’s a big-time basketball program at a place he can definitely immediately impact. I’m sure you’ll see him get a lot of minutes as a freshman. They really pushed hard for him.
"A lot of it boils down to the feel you get from the coaches and I think he really liked the interest he got from the coaches in the last six weeks. They were at practically all our games. They really went hard after him."