Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
**Click the Video Player at right for the interview with Maurice. It’s also up on SNY.tv***
(Photo courtesy Daily News)
NEW YORK — Maurice Harkless has made his college choice.
“I will be going to the University of Connecticut,” the 6-foot-7, 180-pound Harkless, 16, said Wednesday afternoon in the SNY studio in midtown Manhattan.
Harkless, a junior wing at Forest Hills High School in Queens, N.Y., is the No. 12 small forward and No. 50 player overall in the Class of 2011, according to Rivals.
Harkless is coming back from a broken metatarsil bone in his left foot. In his first game back he scored 21 points in Forest Hills’ 60-57 loss to Wings Academy on Sunday.
A year ago, he helped lead his high school team to the Queens borough crown and the PSAL Class AA quarterfinals.
Harkless chose UConn over Seton Hall, St. John’s, Kentucky and Fordham.
He plans to watch his future team Wednesday night when the No. 14 Huskies (6-1) face No. 4 Kentucky (8-0) in the SEC/Big East Invitational at Madison Square Garden. (Read about the Calhoun-Calipari rivalry here.)
“It should be a lot of fun. The game should be exciting,” Harkless said.
Harkless has visited UConn a couple of times and said he got along well with head coach Jim Calhoun and the staff.
“The coaches were very welcoming. All the coaches spoke to me. The campus was great. I’ve been to a couple of games. The fans were great. They knew all the players. It was just a nice environment. I love the school,” he said.
Harkless said Calhoun projects him as a wing man who can contribute to future success.
“He told me that if I come there we can have a good chance of winning a national title and that’s what I want to do,” Harkless said.
Harkless projects to grow at least a couple of inches and could be closer to 6-9 by the time he steps on campus. He will have time to develop his game and body first.
“I want to get stronger. I want to get better in the post. I want to get my ball-handling a lot better so I can be prepared for the next level,” Harkless said.
Harkless has drawn comparisons to former Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis, as well as fellow Queens native Devin Ebanks of West Virginia and current UConn junior forward Stanley Robinson.
“The sky’s the limit for his abilities,” said Forest Hills coach Ben Chobhaphand. “He will be able to play the guard and the wing definitely at UConn. He has shot-blocking ability now. UConn has led the country in shot-blocking not only at the five position, but their fours and threes are all able to block shots. In that aspect, I think he’ll be fine and hopefully Coach Calhoun can develop him into maybe having an opportunity to be a pro one day.
“Coach Calhoun said he reminds him of Reggie Lewis, so I see the same thing. Mo’s perimeter jump shot has a nice stroke.”
New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski said Harkless needs to work on his post game.
“He’s physically similar to Ebanks in that he’s long and lean and he wants to be a perimeter player and he has perimeter skill but he’s unlike Devin Ebanks because Devin Ebanks is one of the best rebounders in the country and that’s something that he’s yet to do,” Konchalski said. “He’s got to work on his body but he’s a young kid. He’s got time to do it. He won’ t be there for two years.”
Added Chobhaphand: “We’re definitely trying to develop his rebounding because he might grow two, three, four inches. He might be 7-foot when he gets there, so we want him to have the ability to be a player, not a position.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.