Pitt's Wanamaker gets 'good award'

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Pitt senior guard Brad Wanamaker continues to rake in the postseason awards. One day after being named second-team all-Big East, Wanamaker won the sportsmanship award from the conference.

Wanamaker is the third Pitt player to win the sportsmanship award, which has been given out annually since 2002. Jaron Brown won in '04 and Ronald Ramon in '08.

"Those are good awards," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "I'm excited about that. It's great for Brad. I thought he had a shot at that. It's well-deserved."

Three other awards were given out Monday. Rick Jackson of Syracuse won the defensive player of the year. Dwight Hardy of St. John's won the most improved player and Justin Burrell of St. John's won the sixth man award.

Dixon had been pushing senior center Gary McGhee for defensive player of the year. Despite being one of the top defensive teams in the conference for the past decade the Panthers have never had a player earn defensive player of the year honors.

"They gave us those [ballots] a week and a half ago," Dixon said. "I don't know how guys voted. It's hard. Having 16 teams make it harder. One time through makes it even harder. I understand. For what we need, that factors in, too. For what we do, he's as good a defender as we have had and definitely the best big guy defender we've had.

"That's the most important thing -- what we need. He made us a better team with his defense. I'm sure Rick Jackson did as well. We play two different styles of defense and had success. It's too hard to pick an all-conference team with 16 teams. It's hard to begin with when you have 8 or 10 or 12 teams. There is going to be someone left out."

The most prestigious awards will be presented today at Madison Square Garden, where the first round of the tournament begins today. Player of the year, coach of the year and rookie of the year will be announced at a 5:30 p.m. news conference.

NOTES -- Wanamaker sat out practice Monday with a wrist injury. Dixon did not believe it was serious and expects Wanamaker to be able to play Thursday. ... Forward Talib Zanna, who had thumb surgery two weeks ago, started conditioning on the side, his first activity since the injury.



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