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Big East Basketball Awards: St. John's Basketball's Dwight Hardy And Justin Burrell Earn Honors

The St. John's basketball program earned two more Big East Conference awards Monday afternoon as senior point guard Dwight Hardy was named the conference's Most Improved Player, while senior forward Justin Burrell was named Sixth Man Of The Year.

"Hardy helped St. John’s return to a contender’s role in the BIG EAST standings,' said the release from the "The 6-2 senior finished fourth in the league in scoring, averaging 17.9 ppg.  Though not named to any of the Preseason All-BIG EAST teams, he earned an All-BIG EAST First Team selection.  The native of the Bronx, N.Y., helped the Red Storm end the regular season by winning nine of their last 11 games."

On Friday, Hardy was named the SB Nation New York MVP because of his play during the Johnnies last 10 games of the Big East regular season. Hardy was also a All-Big East First Team selection on Sunday.

As for Burrell:

"Burrell, a 6-8 senior, is also from the Bronx, N.Y.  He was a key contributor off the bench in helping the Red Storm to a 20-10 overall record and a 12-6 BIG EAST mark.  Burrell averaged 6.6 points and 5.0 rebounds while playing 21.1 minutes per game.  He shot 51.1 percent from the field."

There's not doubt that Hardy was the league's most improved player, but the Burrell announcement is a bit surprising until you run down the list of other possible sixth-man candidates and can't find any.  I am not saying that Burrell isn't a good player, I really like him, but it seems that it was a down year for bench players considering I couldn't find another player to vote for and former players to receive this award were: Syracuse's Kris Joseph ('09-'10), Villanova's Corey Fisher ('08-'09) and Georgetown's Patrick Ewing Jr. ('07-'08).

On Tuesday, the Big East Conference will announce the Player Of the Year, Coach Of The Year, Rookie Of The Year and Scholar-Athlete Of The Year.