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March 25, 2011St. John's seniors Dwight Hardy and Justin Burrell have been invited to compete in the State Farm Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships on 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. Past participants and champions include NBA stars Aaron Brooks, Dahntay Jones, Steve Nash, Wes Matthews, Sonny Weems, Jason Maxiell and Kyle Korver.
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.
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.