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NBA Summer League, filled with Johnnies - a recap

<strong>Dwight Hardy</strong> in action for the Miami Heat Summer League team, trying to make the NBA dream come true.
Dwight Hardy in action for the Miami Heat Summer League team, trying to make the NBA dream come true.

The NBA Summer League is over, after serving as a showcase for much of St. John's recent graduates - and the newly-minted Charlotte Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap. Most likely, neither coach nor Johnnie players are in a position to hoist the NBA trophy in a year's time; but a number of players got some minutes to show their skills to NBA and international suitors, and to keep their name fresh in the minds of talent evaluators.

Few other schools had so many players and head coaches working to bust into the best basketball league in the world.

For Mike Dunlap, the Summer League provided a chance to instill values he finds important - attention to detail, fitness/ hard work, trapping opponents, and freeing Kemba Walker. His summer league team looked much like his regular season team, and they went 4-1. It's likely not a harbinger of a winning season, but Dunlap does get to instill his values in his core players. It helped that he could add 2010-11 guard Paris Horne to the mix, a player familiar with Dunlap's style and demands.

For the 2010-11 class and for Big East Rookie of the Year turned NBA draft pick Maurice Harkless, these are the first summer league games, a chance to impress. How well did he and the other St. John's players fare? Read on, with some notes about where some of the foreign-based players will be next season.

Moe Harkless

Maurice Harkless, the one-and-done Philadelphia 76ers draftee from this year's St. John's squad, didn't have much chance to impress Sixers' fans. A strained hip flexor sustained during his pre-draft workouts sidelined him for all but two games. Harkless scored 9 points and grabbed 5 total rebounds in his first game against the Indiana Pacers; the second game saw Harkless on the bench after 9 and a half minutes. His averages in those limited minutes were 5.5 points/ 3 rebounds/ 1 assist/ .5 turnovers.

On the plus side, Harkless hit the only three he attempted, and shot decently (5/11) from the field. Maurice Harkless' ability to score in the NBA without having displayed deep range in college was a concern among fans.

Sixers summer league coach Aaron McKie liked what he saw. "He has to get used to the speed of the game, the strength of the game," McKie said to the Philadelphia Daily News. "I think he’s going to be a heck of a defender, he can move his feet. He just has to work on the nuances on the offensive end as far as getting himself open."

Dwight Hardy

Dwight Hardy hoped to make a strong impression on the NBA Champion Miami Heat as a small, dynamic playmaking guard. But Hardy didn't distinguish himself where he needed to - as a creative playmaker - and didn't shoot well in limited time. In 13.3 minutes per game, Hardy scored 3.7 points per game and 1.3 assists/ 1 steal/ 1.7 turnovers for the Heat's entry in the Las Vegas summer league.

The slim scoring guard, won Most Valuable Player honors (article in Italian) in Italy's LegaDue (second division) playing with Pistoia Basket as a rookie. Dwight Hardy is reportedly close to moving up a division with a deal with Italian club S.S. Felice Sandone (aka Sidigas Avellino), in Avellino. The club finished 9th in a 17-team Lega Basket Serie A last season, and are located in southern Italy.

Dwight Hardy averaged 22 points per game with 2.2 assists/ 3.2 rebounds per contest for LegaDue's Pistoia Basket, stroking the ball at 35.5% outside the arc.

D.J. Kennedy

Kennedy, who has five regular-season NBA games under his belt as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, came back to try and maintain their interest in his talents. In his first summer league games, Kennedy received starts in all five games, averaging 3.4 points/ 4.6 rebounds/ 1.4 assists per game with no steals in 17 minutes per game. Kennedy pulled down 6 rebounds against the Knicks' summer league team and 7 against Charlotte's squad as well, both in about 22 minutes of game time.

Last season, D.J. Kennedy parlayed a good performance for the Erie Bayhawks (15.7 points per game on 44.7% shooting/ 37.8% from beyond the arc with 4.4 assists and 7.3 rebounds) into an end of season run with the Cavaliers, scoring 3.4 points per game with 4.6 rebounds. He is a free agent this coming season.

Lamont Hamilton

Lamont Hamilton, a 2007 graduate of the Red Storm, joined Dwight Hardy on the Miami Heat summer league team, but was not a main focus of their evaluation efforts. Hamilton only logged heavy minutes in his last game - 21 in a loss against the Portland summer league team. Hamilton averaged 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 points in 11 minutes per game.

Lamont Hamilton will continue his career in Spain, playing for Bilbao Basket (aka Gescrap Bizkaia Bilbao Basket) on a one-year deal (article in Spanish). Bilbao finished 6th in the Spanish First Division, ACB aka Liga Endesa.

Hamilton spent the last three seasons in France with Paris Levallois in the LNB Pro A (top level league). Hamilton scored 17 points per game and took in 8.2 rebounds and a block added for good intimidating measure.

Justin Burrell

Burrell inked a summer league deal with the Golden State Warriors and performed solidly, averaging 6.2 points/ 4.2 rebounds per game for the Bay Area squad as they went 5-0 in Las Vegas. The MVP of the Japanese B-League and star of the expansion Yokohama squad hopes he showed enough unselfishness and defense to earn an NBA camp invite with coach Mark Jackson's Warriors.

Justin Brownlee

Justin Brownlee logged 17 minutes for the New York Knicks summer league team. He didn't his a field goal but rebounded solidly, averaging 3.5 boards in his pair of games in only 8 and a half minutes. He spent last season with the Maine Red Claws of the Developmental League, scoring 8 points per game and grabbing just under 5 rebounds per contest.

Paris Horne

Fresh off of a solid season in Germany where he posted 10.7 points/ 2.2 assists per game for BG Gottingen next for fellow St. John's forward Sean Evans, Horne got a chance to run with former coach Mike Dunlap's Charlotte Hornets as the coach implemented an unprecedented pressing style. Horne scored 5.7 points per game and snagged 4.3 rebounds.

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