Maurice Harkless, the St. John's forward who has since gone on to a starting role with the NBA's Orlando Magic, will play for the Puerto Rican National Team this coming summer, the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation announced yesterday.
"I'm eager to play with [the National Team of Puerto Rico] and help them achieve international victories," Harkless said. "It is a bonus that I can play for my extended family. I hope I can make them and the people of Puerto Rico proud."
Harkless is averaging 6.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals per game, shooting .458 from the field (.503 2-pointers/ .352 3-pointers/ .578 free throws).
Puerto Rico will play in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain starting on August 30. Puerto Rico is ranked 17 in the world, per FIBA. The Puerto Rican squad qualified for the World Cup by finishing second in the FIBA Americas championship last September, losing to Spain. (The USA had already qualified.)
The Queens-born 6'8" forward's mom has Puerto Rican roots.
The Federation has been requesting Harkless' presence - and Connecticut star senior guard Shabazz Napier's - for years. Former Knick Renaldo Balkman will likely be on the squad, as should former NBA player Carlos Arroyo and current Minnesota Timberwolf J.J. Barea.
Oregon State's Devon Collier and Ricardo "Ricky" Ledo - now of the Dallas Mavericks - also have Puerto Rican roots.