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Maurice Harkless commits to UCONN

After much anticipation, Forest Hills forward Maurice Harkless took his first major step into collegiate basketball, when he verbally committed to play for the University of Connecticut (UCONN).
Harkless, a lanky 6-foot-7 swingman has been the backbone of a very lethal Queens basketball squad.
On Wednesday, December 9, Harkless jumped into an agreement with a formidable NCAA competitor in UCONN. Backed by seasoned head coach Jim Calhoun, Harkless felt it was the best place for him to grow into a true leader.
“With their experience, it was definitely the best choice for me,” said Harkless, who resides in Jamaica. “It’s a great environment for me and they have a Hall of Fame coach.”
With a 7-foot-2 wingspan, this 185-pound Forest Hills junior is a real impact player. In the first weeks of the new season, Harkless is averaging almost 20 points per game.
His frame is not what you would expect of a natural Big East competitor, but bulking up is something that Harkless looks to do before he hits the Connecticut boards.
When he was growing up in Queens, Harkless always wanted to become a receiver on a football team. His dream did not really pan the way he wanted – but a role on the UCONN team will have to do.
“I don’t even care what position they want me to play . . . whatever it takes to win,” Harkless said.
Scoring comes easily to Harkless. Even after coming back from a broken bone in his left foot, he lit up the stat sheet against Wings Academy with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and seven blocked shots.
Currently, he is being taught the basics of competitive ball by sixth-year coach Ben Chobhaphand. Under his guidance, Harkless’ game has thoroughly improved – which is why Chobhaphand was not surprised by the attention his star forward received.
“Maurice’s skill level is what will take him to the top,” Chobhaphand said. “Sky’s the limit for this kid’s ability.”
Along with his coach and family, Harkless deliberated between UCONN and other colleges like St. John’s and Kentucky. Ultimately, everyone agreed that he made the right decision.
“We took a long time to decide, but I think UCONN was the best decision for me at this time,” he said. “I visited a couple times and really liked what I saw.”
Even though Harkless is overwhelmed by his decision, he isn’t going to get bogged down with thoughts about college right now. Along with this season, he still has another full year to develop with the Rangers.

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