Moe Harkless to consider NBA draft

NEW YORK -- Minutes after he was presented with the Big East Rookie of the Year award, St. John's forward Moe Harkless admitted to reporters that he is considering a jump to the NBA.

"I'm gonna sit down and talk to my coaches about it," said Harkless, "as well as talk to my family and my teammates, and we'll come up with a conclusion."

If Harkless does decide to leave St. John's after this season, his final college game was an impressive one. Earlier on Tuesday, he scored 25 points and collected nine rebounds in the Red Storm's 73-59 loss to Pittsburgh in the first round of the Big East tournament, shooting 10 for 16 from the field.

When asked if leaving school and turning pro is tempting, Harkless responded: "That's every kid's dream. It's definitely tempting. But I have to sit down and decide what's the best situation and what's the best thing I should do."

Harkless was the gem of coach Steve Lavin's first full recruiting class at St. John's -- a homegrown product from Queens, N.Y., and the No. 38 high school senior in the country, as ranked by ESPNU.

The 6-foot-8 small forward had a wonderful freshman season, averaging 15.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. In his very first Big East contest, a win over Providence on Dec. 27, Harkless posted 32 points and 13 rebounds -- breaking the scoring record for a Big East debut, previously held by Allen Iverson and Troy Murphy. He also had 30 points and 13 rebounds in a loss at Duke on Jan. 28.

But it was a trying season for St. John's as a whole. The Red Storm finished 13-19 overall, 6-12 in the Big East. Lavin missed almost the entire season as he recovered from prostate cancer surgery, and St. John's played much of the season with just six players, due to recruit ineligibility and defections.

Harkless' decision could be impacted by the recruits St. John's is able to reel in during the spring signing period, to supplement the six players it already has, along with Texas A&M transfer Jamal Branch. Lavin continues say he will be back on the St. John's bench next season.

ESPN.com NBA draft expert Chad Ford currently ranks Harkless as the 34th-best prospect in this summer's draft, if he elects to come out. That would put him on the border of the first and second rounds.

Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com.