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.
Maurice Harkless has been cleared by the NCAA and will suit up for St. John’s as a freshman in 2011-12.
The school issued the following statement Friday.
“We are pleased that late Thursday, the NCAA informed us they have concluded their review of incoming men’s basketball student-athlete, Maurice Harkless. Harkless will now be a part of the incoming 2011 class that will begin school in the fall semester. We have been working in collaboration with the Big East Conference and the NCAA’s Basketball Focus Group throughout the review process.”
At issue was whether Moe Hicks, the former program director with the New York Gauchos AAU program and current Director of Basketball Operations at St. John’s, is considered by the NCAA an “individual associated with a prospect,” or IAWP as it relates to Harkless.
The NCAA decided Hicks was not because of their limited relationship.
The 6-foot-8 Harkless, who finished his high school career at South Kent (Conn.) after transferring from Forest Hills High, played at the Spring Fling event and than at the Boo Williams EYBL event in 2010 with the Gauchos before quitting and going to the Panthers, according to his mentor, Nate Blue.
“He did those two events and then he quit the team,” Blue said in May. “Then he told the Gauchos, ‘Thanks for everything, but it’s not a good fit. He’s going to play with the Panthers all the way through.’”
He added: “He made his decision to leave UConn when with the Panthers. He committed to St. John’s when with the Panthers.”
Harkless is considered the jewel of head coach Steve Lavin’s nine-man recruiting class for 2011.
Hicks also coached Lamont “Momo” Jones at Rice High School, and thus Jones was not permitted to transfer to St. John’s for the 2011-12 season. As first reported by ZAGSBLOG, Jones landed at Iona after leaving Arizona.
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.