St. John’s received a dose of good news as heralded recruit Maurice Harkless was cleared by the NCAA. The national collegiate governing body was investigating Harkless’ relationship with the Red Storm’s director of basketball operations Maurice Hicks.
Hicks, former boys basketball coach at Rice High School in Harlem, was director of the Gauchos AAU basketball organization, which Harkless played for. Harkless eventually left the Gauchos for the Panthers AAU program.
“We are pleased that late Thursday, the NCAA informed us they have concluded their review of incoming men’s basketball student-athlete, Maurice Harkless,” St. John’s SID Mark Fratto said in a statement. “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.”
The 6-6 Harkless, who orginally committed to Connecticut, played his senior season at South Kent Prep after transferring from Forest Hills High School (Queens). He was among the first of several blue-chip prospects to commit to the Red Storm.
Harkless joins a Red Storm squad that must replace nine seniors.