Tag Archives: moe harkless

Moe Harkless drafted by Philadelphia 76ers


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of St. John's University

After more than three months of waiting and debating, Moe Harkless is in the NBA.

The 6-foot-8 small forward who spent only one year playing at St. John’s was selected 15th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers – becoming the first Red Storm player in 12 years to be a first-round pick.

The Jamaica, Queens native joins other Red Storm alumni like Erick Barkley and Ron Artest to go in the first round. The highest draft pick in St. John’s history was Sonny Dove, who in 1967 was selected fourth-overall by the Detroit Pistons. The most recent draft pick produced by the school was Omar Cook, who went in the second round of the 2001 draft and now plays for the Montenegrin National Basketball Team.

Harkless was named the Big East Rookie of the Year while at St. John’s, where he flourished as a small forward and found his game on a team comprised mainly of freshman. When Harkless declared on March 19 that he would enter the draft, however, his size and experience were criticized.

Should the small forward see playing time this upcoming season, there is a good chance he’ll go against Charlotte Bobcats head coach and former St. John’s assistant coach Mike Dunlap — who coached Harkless during his single season in the NCAA, while Head Coach Steve Lavin was recovering from prostate cancer surgery.

When Harkless announced in March that he was entering the draft, he acknowledged that Lavin’s on-court absence this season was a factor in deciding to go to the next level. Regardless, Harkless said this week that he and Lavin had become more friends than player and coach.

“We became more friends as the season went on especially as he wasn’t coaching it was easier for me and him to have a relationship and I think we’ll be friends for a long time,” Harkless said.

After spending nearly his entire, young career playing in the tri-state area – three high school years at Forest Hills, his senior year at South Kent in Connecticut and a season in Jamaica – Harkless said leaving New York would be a change, but is ready to go anywhere the game takes him.

“It’d be different but it would definitely be a good experience and I’d be excited to go wherever,” he said.

Harkless said New York basketball players had not diminished in prominence; rather, this draft shows that New York still has a strong basketball presence.

“A lot of people say that New York basketball has fallen off and I think this indicates it hasn’t,” he said. “This definitely puts New York back on the map.”

 

Queens native and St. John’s freshman Moe Harkless declares for NBA Draft


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Harkless2

After an award-winning freshman season, Moe Harkless has decided to test the waters of the NBA draft.

The Queens native announced his decision on Monday, March 19 at Madison Square Garden alongside his mother Rosa and Red Storm head coach Steve Lavin.

“It has been my lifelong dream to play in the NBA, and I am excited to have that opportunity to make the jump,” said Harkless. “I am grateful to my teammates and coaches at St. John’s. I would like to thank Coach Lavin, our staff and my teammates for being there for me throughout the whole season.”

Draft projections have the 6-foot-8-inch small forward being picked in the middle of the first round.

Harkless capped his celebrated first season at St. John’s — he was sixth nationally among freshmen in scoring and third in rebounding — by being named the Big East Rookie of the Year.

A stat-sheet filler, Harkless finished with per game averages of 15.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks.

While many fans were excited about the direction the team was headed behind this year’s “Fresh 5,” Lavin has said that players leaving early for the NBA helps the program gain traction on the recruiting trail.

“We are proud of what Moe and our young group accomplished this season — Moe is an example that St. John’s is once again a destination for top-caliber talent and we look forward to following his progress,” Lavin said.

Speaking about his teammates, Harkless said, “We have been through a lot together and I know everyone is excited for me. I know if we all keep working hard, a lot of us will be playing together in the league someday. I believe this is only the beginning for Coach Lavin and his successful legacy at St. John’s.”

Next year’s team should return five of the six players in the Johnnies’ rotation and add Texas A&M transfer Jamal Branch. JaKarr Sampson has recommitted to the Red Storm after being declared academically ineligible before the season and the team also received a verbal commitment from Felix Balamou.

“I really enjoyed playing with Moe,” said D’Angelo Harrison who set the St. John’s record for points by a freshman. “He is a great player and I wish him luck and success in the NBA. I hope to join him in the league in a few years.”

The last Red Storm player to be drafted was Omar Cook in 2001. Cook, who was also a freshman when he entered the draft, is often touted as an example of college players leaving too early. He was taken in the second round and played in only 22 NBA games in his career.

Harkless can still return to St. John’s if he does not sign with an agent, though he is in the process of finding one. Players have until May 8 to withdraw from the draft which will be held on June 28.

 

Moe Harkless named Big East Rookie of the Week


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of St. John's University

St. John’s freshmen continue to rack up accolades as Moe Harkless was named the Big East’s Rookie of the Week, the conference announced.

This is Harkless’ second Rookie of the Week honor and the third time a Red Storm player has taken home the award this year.

The Queens native averaged 18 points per game and 9.5 rebounds while playing every minute of the Johnnies’ two wins last week, including their first victory over a top 25 team this season.

St. John’s (13-16, 6-10 Big East) had lost their first 10 games against ranked opponents this year before besting 18th-ranked Notre Dame on Saturday 61-58 at Madison Square Garden. Earlier in the week the Johnnies defeated DePaul 79-72 at Carnesecca Arena during Senior Night.

For the Johnnies this year, though, it has been almost all freshmen. The team plays only one junior and starts five freshmen — the “Fresh Five.”

Harkless was not the only “Fresh Five” member to have a big week. D’Angelo Harrison played all but one minute over the team’s two games, averaging 19 points, and is now within six points of the Johnnies freshmen scoring record set by Erick Barkley in 1999.

Harrison will most likely not be the only freshmen to surpass the mark, as Harkless is just 40 points shy of the record with two games and the Big East tournament to go.

Harrison and Harkless are first and second in the conference in freshmen scoring, respectively, and Harkless leads all Big East freshmen in rebounding.

The Red Storm finish up their conference slate at Pittsburgh on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. and at Rutgers on Saturday at 8 p.m.

 

Malik Stith leaves St. John’s basketball program


| brennison@queenscourier.com

St. John’s already thin rotation is down another man, as the team’s only returning player — Malik Stith — decided to leave the program.

Stith’s departure leaves the Johnnies with six first-year players in the rotation — five freshmen and a junior college transfer.

Citing personal reasons, Stith chose to step aside as a member of the team. He will continue at the university.

“Right now, I feel that I need to do what is best for my family. I am grateful for the opportunities given to me at St. John’s and pleased to be able to continue to make progress toward my degree,” Stith said. “Coach [Steve] Lavin and I have met and talked over the past couple days about my future and the interest I have in contributing to the team as a student.”

“We’ll miss Malik’s contributions on the court but we are pleased he will continue as a member of our basketball program in his new capacity with the Johnnies,” Lavin said.

The Head Coach added that Stith will continue to add value to St. John’s basketball family.

Stith had played in all 23 Red Storm games going into last night, starting five. He averaged 14.6 minutes and 2.6 points per game.

The young Red Storm have experienced much tumult since arriving on campus: Steve Lavin underwent surgery to treat his prostate cancer and has been on the sidelines for only two games, three players were declared academically ineligible and Stith is the second player to leave the program — Nurideen Lindsay left the team in December.

After last night’s game, a 76-54 loss at home to Cincinnati, Stith’s former teammates spoke about losing a member of the family.

“He was one of the leaders on the team, so it definitely hurts,” freshmen guard D’Angelo Harrison said. “It means other players have to step up and fill his role.”

On numerous occasions throughout the season Harrison has credited Stith with helping him keep his emotions in check and his head in the game.

“That’s our brother,” said Moe Harkless. “To lose him is tough, but we’ve just got to stick together and play with what we’ve got.”

Ten players saw action in last night’s game, though the playing time came after the game was out of reach.

St. John’s  (10-14, 4-8 BIG EAST) heads to Washington, D.C. to face the #11/#12 Georgetown Hoyas on Sunday, February 18.

 

St. John’s trounced by Syracuse 95-70


| brennison@queenscourier.com

St. John’s-Syracuse games at MadisonSquareGarden often have a buzz as both squads’ lay claim to being New York’s team. This day though belonged to second-ranked Syracuse as the Orange (23-1, 10-1 Big East) trounced the Red Storm (10-13, 4-7) 95-70.  Throughout the game – especially in the second half – the sold-out Garden sounded more like the Carrier Dome –Syracuse’s home court.

Chants of “Let’s go Orange” filled Syracuse’s “second home” as the team increased their lead, continually getting easy baskets.

St. John’s has now played nine ranked teams this year – including the number one and number two teams in the nation – losing each game. The Johnnies beat six ranked opponents last year.

The Johnnies fell behind early and could never claw their way back into the game. Confronted with the same situation they faced against Duke a week prior – trailing by more than 20 points against a top 10 team – St. John’s could not make the stops they needed to go on a sustained run. 

Syracuse’s size allowed them to play above the rim and get the shots they wanted all game – the team shot 56 percent from the field and had 52 points in the paint.

“We moved the ball really well,” said Jim Boeheim, who tied Dean Smith for third place on the all-time wins list with 879. “We got really good shots every time down the court.”

 “Beginning, middle and end, they dominated us on the boards and they converted off of those second chance points,” said assistant coach Mike Dunlap, who continues to fill in for Steve Lavin as he recovers from prostate cancer surgery.

The Orange grabbed 16 of their 31 misses converting many second chance scoring opportunities.

Any hopes of a Red Storm comeback were squelched within the second half’s first two and a half minutes as the Orange went on a 9-0 run and Moe Harkless picked up his third and fourth fouls forcing him to the bench.

The Johnnies were never able to get within 20 after the Orange’s early second half run.

St. John’s all-freshmen starting lineup – the “Fresh Five” – was not on the court at the opening tip for the first time in four games as D’Angelo Harrison was late for the bus and sat out the opening 2 minutes.

After being held scoreless over the game’s first three minutes and thirty seconds, Syracuse went on a 12-2 run to take a lead they never relinquished.  A 6-0 run to end the first half pushed the Orange’s lead into double digits and then their 9-0 run to open the second half put the game out of reach.

The 95 points was the most St. John’s has given up all year and the most a Big East team has scored in a conference game this season.

Harrison led the Johnnies with 23 points and added five assists and four rebounds.

Fab Melo – in his first game back from suspension – Dion Waiters and C.J. Fair led 10 Orange in the scoring column with 14 points

St. John’s next faces Cincinnati (15-7, 5-4) on Wednesday, February 8 at MSG.  The Johnnies defeated the Bearcats earlier this year 57-55 atCincinnati.

Harkless wins Big East Rookie of the Week


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of St. John's University

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.

St.John’s ends skid, beats West Virginia 78-62


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The youth movement – which had been in effect all season for St. John’s– might now need a nickname.

Playing possibly their most complete game of the season, St. John’s (9-11, 3-6 Big East) defeated West Virginia (15-6, 5-3), 78-62.

Halfway through the Big East schedule, the young team –St. John’s starting lineup consisted of all freshman – learned losses could quickly pile up during conference play.  The team had lost four in a row and six of seven.

“You have to play have to play hard for 40 minutes in the Big East,” said Harrison.  “No game is safe.”

The all freshmen lineup is one Head Coach Steve Lavin has been discussing in team meetings, telling Assistant Coach Mike Dunlap to go with it when he felt it.

Dunlap has taken the reins of the team as Lavin recovers from prostate cancer surgery.

While rare for a program to start five freshmen, it is not unprecedented.

“Unfortunately, in 1992 I saw the Fab Five and I didn’t like that much,” West Virginia Head Coach Bob Huggins said after the game.  “I didn’t like this a whole lot more.”

St. John’s trotted out their own version of famed freshmen dubbed the “Wonder Five” in the late 1920s.

The still-developing team jumped out to an early lead for the third time in the last four games, but this time out was able to sustain that lead.  

Prior to the game Dunlap laid out three goals for the team: play West Virginia even on the boards, run and make adjustments during the game – the team has struggled closing out games recently.

The Red Storm out rebounded West Virginia 25-18 in the first half while jumping out to a 16-point lead; they out scored the Mountaineers 22-5 in fast break points; and after the game Dunlap said he was pleased with the team’s defensive energy in the second half.

The Johnnies held West Virginia to just three of 14 shooting over the games first 12 minutes, allowing them to take an early 21-6 lead.  The Mountaineers, who never got closer than nine in the second half, shot below 36 percent from the field for only the third time this year.

Moe Harkless led four Johnnies in double figures with 23 points.

Harkless outplayed West Virginia’s Kevin Jones, the Big East’s leading scorer and rebounder, on both ends of the floor in the first half while the Johnnies built their lead.  Jones, a favorite for the Big East Player of the Year award, did most of his damage in the second half with the game out of reach, scoring 20 of his 26 points. 

Speaking about Harkless after the game, the senior Jones said the first-year player impressed him and had a chance to develop into a really good player.

Harkless, 13 rebounds, recorded his seventh double double while adding three blocks.  Phil Greene finished with a season-high 8 assists.

“Today we just played great,” Harkless said.  “We’re getting better every game.”

The Johnnies now travel to Duke to take on the #6/8 Blue Devils Saturday at noon. St. John’s defeated Duke at MSG last season 93-78.

St. John’s falls in overtime to Villanova, 79-76


| brennison@queenscourier.com

With the clock winding down in overtime and St. John’s down three to Villanova, the number one option on the potential game-tying play – Moe Harkless – could only stand and watch.

Fans that braved the cold were rewarded with a heated Big East battle that came down to the buzzer with the Johnnies falling to Villanova, 79-76 in overtime.

St. John’s (8-11, 2-6 Big East) last possession broke down and the ensuing scramble led to Sir’Dominic Pointer – who has hit only five of 25 threes this year – taking the final shot that clanged off the front of the rim, leaving the Johnnies with their fourth straight loss and sixth in their last seven games.

“Coach [Dunlap] drew up a good play,” said guard Phil Greene, who finished with a career-high 14 points. “We didn’t come out and execute it right, but we still had an opportunity and a good look to tie the game.”

The Red Storm found themselves in overtime only after losing a double-digit lead with less than seven minutes to play and not getting a shot off on the final possession of regulation.

“The execution of the last play before the buzzer went off and overtime is my responsibility, no one else’s,” said Assistant Coach Mike Dunlap, who has stepped in for Steve Lavin as he continues to recover from October prostate cancer surgery.

With the game tied and less than 10 seconds remaining, God’sgift Achiuwa’s errant pass to Harkless was stolen forcing overtime.

Though the Johnnies failed to convert their last-second opportunities and were out rebounded by 16, Dunlap said the outcome of the game came down to foul shots.

“We left the game on the free throw line.  It’s that simple,” Dunlap said.  “You can talk about the rebounds, you can talk about the turnovers, but the bottom line is free throws are easy baskets.”

St. John’s shot 14-25 from the line, which included five misses in the extra period.

After hitting just four of their 22 three-pointers during regulation, Villanova made both attempts in overtime helping them build a seven-point lead which the Johnnies could not overcome.

The Red Storm jumped out to an early 12-4 lead on the strength of five of six shooting, including two Harrison three-pointers – which matched the team’s total from the previous two games.

The Johnnies followed that hot streak by, as has happened often this season, going cold, hitting just four of their next 22 shots.

In the second half, the Johnnies again came out firing on all cylinders.  This time, St. John’s was able to carry the momentum through the rest of half shooting 68 percent, led by D’Angelo Harrison’s 20 points.

Harrison set a career high in points – 28 – after struggling over his previous two games, hitting just three of 19 shots over those contests.

Villanova (10-10, 3-5) was led by the Big East’s second leading scorer Maalik Wayns who scored 28 – including two game tying shots with under 70 seconds left in regulation.

St. John’s next faces West Virginia (15-5, 5-2) Wednesday night at MSG at 7 p.m.

St. John’s falls to #11 Georgetown at MSG


| brennison@queenscourier.com

After jumping out to an early 13-5 lead, St. John’s struggled to find an offensive groove and fell to the 11th ranked Georgetown Hoyas 69-49.

The Johnnies (8-9, 2-4 Big East) scored just six points over the last 12 minutes of the first half after their quick start allowing the Hoyas a chance to get take a lead they never relinquished.

Both teams struggled from the field in the first half – each squad shot under 35 percent. The Johnnies shooting troubles continued in the second half – the team shot 8-27 after hitting only 9-27 shots in the first half.

Shooting has been an issue all year for St. John’s – they came into the game second to last in the conference in field goal percentage and dead last in 3-point field goal percentage.

The length of the Hoyas did not make the Johnnies shooting struggles any easier. Georgetown played six guys over 6-foot-8-inches tall; many times having four on the court at the same time.

“They were really long,” said Moe Harkless. “I think we didn’t do a great job of attacking their zone.”

Georgetown (14-3, 4-2) discovered their shooting stroke at half time, led by Hollis Thompson who made all seven of his shots in the second half, including five three pointers, after missing all six of his shots over the game’s first 20 minutes.

Twice in the second half the Johnnies were able to climb to within three, but each time saw the Hoyas immediately answer with a sustained run. After St. John’s made it 28-25, Georgetown scored nine straight points to stretch their lead to a dozen. The Red Storm were again within one possession of tying the game with 6:36 remaining in the game before Georgetown closed the game on a 21-4 run.

A majority of the Red Storm offense came from the Queens native Harkless. The freshman had nine of the team’s 17 field goals while scoring 21 points.

The team managed just one field goal over the last 5:15 following Harkless picking up his fifth and final foul.

Reigning Big East Rookie of the Week D’Angelo Harrison suffered through the worst game of his college career scoring only five points on 1-12 shooting and committing several key turnovers on fast breaks.

“I have to do a better job of slowing down and finding the open guy,” Harrison said after the game. “Like coach says find the path that’s open, not the one you want.”

The 19 points the Johnnies scored in the first half was their lowest scoring half of the season. The game also marked the first time St. John’s was held under 50 points. The Red Storm have lost all seven games played this year against ranked opponents after beating six last year.

St. John’s now travels to South Florida (10-8, 3-2) to face the Bulls on Wednesday, January 18.

Maurice Harkless named to Big East’s Honor Roll


| smosco@queenscourier.com

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One of the borough’s top hoops stars is continuing his athletic success under the bright lights of college basketball.

Maurice Harkless, a former star forward at Forest Hills High School, was named to the Big East Conference’s Weekly Honor Roll on January 2 for his high-flying efforts in St. John’s games against Providence and Connecticut.

The freshman swingman averaged 24.0 points per game and 9.5 rebounds during a 1-1 week in conference play for the Red Storm. Harkless shot 67.9 percent from the field (19-for-24), 50 percent from long range (3-for-6) and 87.5 percent from the free throw line (7-of-8) to go along with five assists, five steals and two blocks.

Harkless also entered the record books against Providence with a 32 point performance – the most ever by a freshman making his Big East debut. In the 91-67 victory, Harkless went 14-for-17 from the field, 2-for-3 from long range and had 13 rebounds for his fourth double-double in a five-game span. He also dished out four assists, picked four steals and blocked two shots.

In St. John’s game against UConn, Harkless contributed 16 points (5-of-11 field goals, 5-of-5 free throws) and grabbed six rebounds in a 83-69 loss on December 31.

Harkless’ team-best scoring average of 15.7 points per game ranks 14th among all Big East players, his team-leading 8.3 rebounds per game is tied for fifth, his 46.2 field goal percentage is 11th and his 1.6 blocked shots rates 10th in the league.

Becoming the first recruit of the Steve Lavin regime at St. John’s University, he committed to play for the Red Storm in 2011. Harkless had previously made a verbal commitment to play for the University of Connecticut (UConn), but later re-opened his recruiting.

After announcing that he had chosen UConn over Kentucky, he chose to re-examine his options after Lavin joined St. John’s. Programs throughout the country courted him, including the likes of Oregon, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Arizona, Florida, Rutgers and Maryland.