Forest Hills, N.Y., native Maurice Harkless, a 6-foot-7 small forward, committed to St. John’s.
The pledge is a significant one for the Red Storm. Steve Lavin scored a commitment from Scout.com’s No. 43 prospect in the senior class. Harkless began the summer in Scout.com’s Top 100 but rose with outstanding play in Las Vegas and then led his N.Y. Panthers team to the championship at the Desert Duel.
The big question for St. John’s isn’t necessarily what Harkless will do once he wears the uniform, its what can he do to open the pipeline for other New York City area players? Harkless himself is a versatile athlete who can guard multiple positions and will be an immediate contributor for Lavin.
The challenge at St. John’s has been finding the right mix of local players who wished to remain local. Harkless, who will attend South Kent this year, will be looked at closely as the player who has turned on the spigot in Jamaica, Queens. Will others follow his lead? St. John’s is involved with a number of Top 100 prospects and this is the first step toward re-directing the talent base back to the Big East program.