TUESDAY, MARCH 01, 2011
Ayron Hardy named A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year
Ranked among the top 15 in the Atlantic Sun Conference in rebounds, steals and blocks, Jacksonville University senior Ayron Hardy was named A-Sun “Defensive Player of the Year” and picked first team all-conference.

Joining him in receiving conference honors was Keith McDougald, earning a spot on the all-freshman team after a stellar inaugural campaign.

This is the second time in Hardy’s career that he’s been named the league’s top defensive player, earning the honor in 2009. This is his first all-conference team recognition and comes after his one of his best seasons – leading the Dolphins in scoring, steals and blocks while ranking second in rebounds and assists.

Hardy now ranks second at JU all time in career steals, 10th in career blocks and is 18th on the all-time scoring list. With the start on Thursday, Hardy and fellow senior Travis Cohn will join Ben Smith atop the all-time games played list at 125.

“Ayron has achieved a lot throughout his career and is very deserving of this honor,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “His defensive presence and ability to make things happen on the defensive end has been a key part of our success.”

McDougald’s freshman campaign has been highlighted by some big nights, starting with debut at Miami in which he scored 11 points with three 3-pointers, becoming the first freshman since Hardy in 2007 to start a game.

His stellar play has seen him score in double figures 12 times, leading JU in scoring on seven occasions.

McDougald joins a prestigious list of former Dolphins during the Cliff Warren era that earned all-freshman team recognition, led by Marcus Allen, Ben Smith and Lehmon Colbert.

“I’m happy to see Keith recognized for his play this season,” Warren said. “He’s been a solid contributor in whatever role we’ve asked him to fill.”