Moe Harkless was a standout at Forest Hills High School and was named the 2011-12 Big East Rookie of the Year for an impressive freshman season at St. John’s.
Now Harkless returns to the city, after the Knicks acquired him in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers.
“It’s a dream come true,” he told reporters after joining the team in Detroit. “I was a Knicks fan growing up. I loved watching the Knicks on TV, I loved coming to the Garden in college, too, so it’s like I’ve come full-circle now.”
Harkless left Forest Hills High School after his junior season to attend South Kent Prep School in Connecticut. He originally committed to play at UConn but instead went to St. John’s.
He set a record for Big East freshmen with 32 points against Providence in his first conference game. Harkless then drew national attention with 30 points and 13 rebounds in a game at Duke.
Harkless had 11 double-doubles on the season and also impressed with a 22-point performance in a late season upset over Notre Dame.
He was the first St. John’s player named Big East Rookie of the Year since David Russell (no relation) in 1980.
He went pro and was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 15th overall pick. St. John’s coach Steve Lavin would later say that the Red Storm would have been an NCAA tournament team in 2013 had Harkless returned for his sophomore season and that the talented player would’ve been the No. 1 overall pick.
Before ever playing for the 76ers, Harkless was traded to the Orlando Magic and spent three seasons on the team.
Harkless was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in 2015 and spent the next four seasons with them before being sent to the Clippers prior to the start of this season.
He is the latest St. John’s player to return to the city with the Knicks.
John Warren scored 1,306 points for St. John’s in the late 1960s and was a member of the Knicks’ first championship team in 1970.
Mark Jackson was a member of the 1985 Redmen team that advanced to the Final Four and became an All-Star point guard with the Knicks. He was a Knick from 1987 through 1992 and returned in 2001. In-between, he played a Knick in the 1996 movie “Eddie,” starring Whoopi Goldberg as a fan-turned-coach.
Ron Artest was the star of St. John’s 1999 run to the Elite Eight and played for the Knicks in the 2013-14 season, after changing his name to Metta World Peace.
Lavor Postell, also on the 1999 team, spent three seasons with the Knicks.
The best of the St. John’s Knicks was Dick McGuire, a seven-time NBA All-Star in the 1950s. He played for Joe Lapchick in college and the pros, and led the Knicks to three consecutive NBA finals appearances. McGuire spent more than 50 years in the organization as a player, head coach, assistant coach, chief scout and senior basketball consultant until his death in 2010.
McGuire’s brother Al also played for St. John’s and the Knicks. He would become a national title-winning coach at Marquette and a popular broadcaster.