UPDATED: March 30, 2011
QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's seniors Dwight Hardy and Justin Burrell will showcase their skills in the State Farm Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships on Thursday, March 31, in Houston, Texas, the site of the 2011 Final Four.
The State Farm Slam Dunk and 3-Point Championships will feature 24 senior standouts from around the nation to compete in three eight-player events: the men's slam dunk contest, the men's 3-point competition and the women's 3-point competition. Hardy, who finished his STJ career tied for ninth in career 3-point field goal percentage at .367, will take part in the 3-point contest. Burrell will put his creativity and style to the test when he competes in the dunk contest. The event will be held in the University of Houston's Hofheinz Pavilion, taped at 7:30 p.m. and shown on ESPN2 from 9-11 p.m. The ESPN2 broadcast team will feature Dan Dakich, Jimmy Dykes, Brad Nessler and Holley Rowe. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. (Central Time) for the event. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased at www.collegeslam.com.
This year's 3-point Shooting Championship roster also includes Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn, College of Charleston's Andrew Goudelock, Mississippi State's Ravern Johnson, Saint Mary's Mickey McConnell, Kansas' Brady Morningstar, Kansas State's Jacob Pullen and Mississippi's Chris Warren.
On March 10, Hardy earned the District II Player of the Year honors by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) and was named to its All-District team. Hardy, who was also an a first-team All-BIG EAST selection and the conference's Most Improved Player, was also named a candidate for the nation's player of the year as a top 20 finalist for the prestigious Wooden Award. Hardy finished the season averaging a team-best 18.3 points, which ranks fourth in the BIG EAST. Hardy was one of the top 3-point shooters in the BIG EAST, making 62 treys to average 1.9 per game and rank 12th in the conference. Hardy was named BIG EAST Player of the Week a league-leading three times and earned weekly honors from the league five times in 2010-11. He was at his best in St. John's six wins over ranked opponents, averaging 23.3 points in victories over 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 Denny's Slam Dunk Championship, Burrell will take on a group that includes Pittsburgh's Gilbert Brown, Memphis' Will Coleman, East Tennessee State's Justin Tubbs, Illinois College's Jacob Tucker, San Diego State's Billy White, Cincinnati's Darnell Wilks and UNC Asheville's John Williams.
The Denny's Slam Dunk Championship has a star-studded judges panel will include Hall of Famer and the second-leading scorer in NBA history Karl Malone; Hall of Famer and former Houston Rocket Calvin Murphy; current Houston Rocket Courtney Lee; current Houston Rocket and 2005 College Slam Dunk participant Chuck Hayes; and current Houston Texan DeMeco Ryan.
Burrell received the BIG EAST Sixth Man Award for his outstanding contributions as a reserve in the St. John's 2010-11 success. Coming off the bench as the team's "Sixth Man," Burrell averaged 6.3 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game. The Red Storm big man averaged 22.8 minutes per game in regular-season conference play, and was a powerful force on both ends of the floor. In his Red Storm career, Burrell established himself as a powerful dunker whose athleticism and strength enable him use his 6-8 244-pound frame for wreaking havoc around the rim. Fans can expect to see the St. John's big man thrown down some forceful slams in Houston.