Following last week’s win over West Virginia, St. John’s assistant coach Mike Dunlap remarked that freshman Moe Harkless deserved more acknowledgement, “but Moe is a great player and he is going to get his recognition.”
Dunlap was right.
Harkless was named Big East Rookie of the Week after collecting his seventh and eighth double-doubles of the season, which included a 30 point, 13 rebound performance at Duke — the most points scored by a freshman at Cameron Indoor Stadium in 16 years.
The Queens native averaged 26.5 points on over 58 percent shooting while pulling down 13 boards each game during the week of January 22. He is the second Red Storm frosh to earn the honor this season. D’Angelo Harrison took home the award on January 9, ending an eight-year drought for Johnnies freshmen.
This season, the former Forest Hills High School star has been among the best freshmen in the country — his 16.6 points per game and 8.8 rebounds rank fourth and third nationally among freshmen.
The honor comes during the same week the Johnnies trotted out a starting lineup featuring all first-year players — the “Fresh Five.” It is believed to be the first time St. John’s started five freshmen since the school’s famed “Wonder Five” in the late 1920s.
In the week’s first game, Harkless matched up with front-runner for Big East player of the year, Kevin Jones, and scored 23 points while grabbing 13 rebounds — which led Jones to say after the game that he was impressed with the young forward.
“He has a chance to be a real good player,” he said.
On Saturday, the Johnnies traveled to Duke to face the sixth-ranked Blue Devils. Harkless led all players with 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds,and was a driving force in cutting a 22 point deficit to just four with 20 seconds left before falling 83-76.
St. John’s next faces the second-ranked Syracuse Orange at MSG on Saturday, February 4 at noon.