March 6, 2011
QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's senior guard Dwight Hardy, who helped lead the 2010-11 Red Storm to a share of third place in the conference, its first 20-win regular season since 1999-2000 and the squad's first national ranking in 11 seasons, was named to the six-man 2011 All-BIG EAST first team, announced Sunday. The BIG EAST player of the year will be named Tuesday, from that group of Hardy, Notre Dame's Ben Hansbrough, Connecticut's Kemba Walker, Georgetown's Austin Freeman, Pittsburgh's Ashton Gibbs and Providence's Marshon Brooks.
"It's a real honor to be named to the All-BIG EAST First Team. Obviously some of the best players all-time at St. John's, in the league, and in the NCAA are in that company, and I'm very fortunate to join them," said Hardy. "I want to share this award with my teammates, because you don't get awards like this without being on a great team. We are really excited and focused on having a great BIG EAST Tournament and memorable postseason."
Hardy finished the season averaging a team-best 17.9 points per game, which ranked fourth among all conference players. He shot an efficient 84.4 percent from the free throw line to finish fifth in the league in that category. He was named BIG EAST Player of the Week a league-leading three times and earned weekly honors from the league on five separate occasions in 2010-11.
"Dwight Hardy is as deserving of the All-BIG EAST Conference recognition as any player I've coached," said St. John's head man Steve Lavin. "The dominating performance and leadership Dwight has provided over the course of his senior year has been a catalyst in St. John's successful season."
In leading St. John's back to the national rankings for the first time since 2000, Hardy has played some of his best basketball in wins over the country's most-formidable teams. St. John's posted a 4-1 record against teams ranked in the AP Top 10, and a 6-5 mark against teams ranked in the AP Top 25. Hardy averaged 23.3 points per game and an assist-to-turnover ratio of .917 in the Red Storm's six wins over ranked opponents, which includes then-No. 13/13 Georgetown, then-No. 9/11 Notre Dame, then-No. 3/3 Duke, then-No. 10/9 Connecticut, then-No. 4/4 Pitt and then-No. 14/15 Villanova.
In the Red Storm's 11 games against ranked teams, Hardy averaged 15.7 ppg while shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 88.9 percent from the charity stripe. In five games against top 10 teams, Hardy's numbers improved to 20.4 ppg and 50.8 percent field goal shooting. He got the ball to the rim to set up teammate Justin Brownlee's game-winning put-back against Georgetown, and helped put away Connecticut by scoring 21 second-half points, including three treys. Hardy hit the game-winning layup to defeat Pitt with 1.2 seconds to play. In defeating Villanova on the road, Hardy scored a career-high 34 points and tied his career best with five three-pointers, his third five-trey performance this season.
Big man Lamont Hamilton was the last first team member for the Red Storm, in 2007. He is currently playing professional basketball in France.
The Red Storm finished the regular season with an overall record of 20-10 and a conference mark of 12-6, tying for third but earning the No. 5 seed in the 2011 BIG EAST Championship Tournament, which begins Tuesday. St. John's plays on Wednesday, March 9 at 2 p.m., facing the winner of the Tuesday matchup between local squads No. 12 Seton Hall and No. 13 Rutgers.