Nelson and backcourt mate Delonte West shared the John P. Hilferty Award, given to the team's Most Valuable Player.
Nelson's number is the fourth to be retired at Saint Joseph's, joining the number 44 of Mike Bantom, the number 30 of Cliff Anderson and the number four, which was worn by George Senesky, Paul Senesky, Bill Oakes and Jim Lynam.
Bantom, who had his number retired in 2003, made the presentation to Nelson after a moving video tribute to the Hawk senior. A banner signifying Nelson's number was unfurled, joining the other banners, which include one for legendary Coach Jack Ramsay, in the Fieldhouse rafters.
Nelson leaves Hawk Hill as the school's all-time leader in points (2,094), assists (713) and steals (256). He was the consensus National Player of the Year this season, capturing the Wooden Award and Naismith Award, to name a few, after leading the Hawks to the 30-2 season and a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight. Nelson averaged 20.6 points and 5.3 assists on the year.
Nelson was also presented with the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award by a representative from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, given to the nation's top player under 6-foot. In turn, Nelson presented the Hall of Fame with his jersey and a pair of sneakers. Coach Phil Martelli gave the Hall of Fame a sweatsuit and a net which was cut down on March 2 after the Hawks completed the perfect 27-0 regular season.
The evening celebrated the Hawks' magical year and honored a number of players and other individuals connected with the program.
"Connecticut may have cut down the nets as the champion, but this group before you was the best team in college basketball this year," said Martelli.
Sophomore Chet Stachitas received the Robert O'Neill Award as the team's Most Improved Player and senior Brian Jesiolowski was given the George Senesky Academic Award. The Patrick D. O'Pake Memorial Award for the team's unsung hero was shared by senior Rob Hartshorn, director of basketball operations Caitlin Ryan and junior manager Chris Napoli. Senior Tyrone Barley received the William F. Maher Award for loyalty and junior John Bryant and senior Chris Bertolino, who served as the Hawk mascot, shared the Daniel J. Cummings Jr. Award for spirit.