SJU alum to take talents to Italy
Aug 10, 2011 | 2285 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Photo: Kenneth B. Goldberg
Photo: Kenneth B. Goldberg
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St. John's basketball alum Dwight Hardy will head to Italy this fall, becoming the Red Storm’s second member of the Class of 2011 to take his hardwood services overseas.

Hardy, a 2011 Associated Press All-American, a first team All-Big East selection and the conference's Most Improved Player, signed a professional contract with Pistoia Basket last week.

"Dwight Hardy’s performance this past season set him apart as one of the best college basketball players in the country," said St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin. “Dwight's scoring, playmaking and leadership served as a catalyst for our team's run to the NCAA Tournament and our program’s resurgence.."

Pistoia Basket, located in the Tuscany region of Italy and situated approximately 30 minutes outside of Florence, plays in Italy’s Lega Due, or “second division.” Hardy will play both point guard and shooting guard for the squad.

The league allows two Americans per squad, and Hardy is the first USA-born player signed, replacing former University of North Carolina standout Joe Forte, who played for Pistoia in 2010-11.

A candidate for the nation's player of the year as a top 20 finalist for the prestigious Wooden Award, Hardy finished the 2010-11 season averaging a team-best 18.3 points, ranking fourth among all Big East players and improving from a 10.5 ppg average in 2009-10.

Hardy was also one of the top 3-point shooters in the conference, making 62 treys to average 1.9 per game and rank 12th in the conference. He was named Big East Player of the Week a league-leading three times and earned weekly honors from the league a total of five times in 2010-11.

After making the move from the team’s shooting guard and sixth man to starting point guard and scoring leader, Hardy led the Red Storm on an exciting ride in 2011, culminating in the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since a 2002 trip that was vacated by the NCAA.

He was at his best in St. John's six wins over ranked opponents, a program-high since 1999-2000, averaging 23.3 points in victories over then-No. 13 Georgetown, then-No. 9 Notre Dame, then-No. 3 Duke, then-No. 10 Connecticut, then-No. 4 Pitt and then-No. 14 Villanova.

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