Now this is on-the-job training.
After spending his entire career as a shooting guard, through high school, college and his one year overseas in Italy, former St. John’s University star Dwight Hardy is hoping to break through into the NBA with the Miami Heat as a point guard.
“It’s not that I can’t do it, I’ve never done it,” he said of his position switch, which begins Sunday with the newly crowned champions in Las Vegas in the NBA Summer League against the Toronto Raptors at 3:30 p.m. “My confidence is sky-high. I feel I’ve done a good job this week, hopefully it will carry over and I impress the Heat.”
The 24-year-old, 6-foot-2 Bronx product and John F. Kennedy graduate enjoyed a breakthrough senior season at St. John’s, leading the Red Storm to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002. He went un-drafted and without an NBA Summer League because of the NBA Lockout, was deprived of an opportunity to showcase his skills.
“I’m not saying I would’ve been in the NBA, but it didn’t give me an opportunity to showcase my talents,” Hardy said.
Instead, he went to Italian Lega Due (second division) and led Pistoria Basket to the finals, earning MVP honors in the process. The Heat paid attention, closely monitoring his successful year there and brought him in. Hardy has spent the week leading up to his audition running the point and he has felt comfortable.
“Because of his ability to score and play-make, I think he’s in position to be an asset at the NBA level,” St. John’s Coach Steve Lavin said of Hardy, who averaged just more than 18 points per game his senior year for the Red Storm. “I don’t know the particulars of Miami’s roster, the current personnel, what they’re looking for. But I know he’s the best scorer I’ve ever coached in my career.”
If Hardy makes it to training camp, he will be playing with a few of the best scorers in the world, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.
“I’m blessed to have this opportunity,” he said. “I’m taking advantage of it every day.”
Hardy isn’t the only member of that magical St. John’s season looking for his big break. Former teammates Justin Burrell and Paris Horne will also get a shot in the NBA Summer League, with the Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Bobcats, respectively. D.J. Kennedy, who was signed late in the season by the Cleveland Cavaliers, will be with the Cavs’ summer team as well.
“We were part of a great run, we made a great team,” Hardy said. “I’m definitely going to follow them.”
©2012 Community News Group
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