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PUR - Maurice Harkless will play with the National Basketball Team
jueves, 30 de enero 2014

Add another young impact player to the Puerto Rican squad.

The player of Puerto Rican descent now playing with the Orlando Magic in the NBA, Maurice "Moe" Harkless, announced on Wednesday that he will wear the shirt of the Puerto Rico National Team during the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain this summer.

Harkless confirmed its decision to the Basketball Federation of Puerto Rico after meeting on January 15 with the coach of the National Team, Francisco "Paco" Olmos, who went to visit him before his match in Orlando against the Chicago Bulls.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to play with the National Team of Puerto Rico," Harkless said. "I'm eager to play with them and help them achieve international victories. 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," he added .

Harkless, 6'7, is a very athletic forward with long arms, great takeoff and good defensive skills. He was the No. 15 first -round draft pick of the 2012 NBA by the Philadelphia 76ers, going almost immediately to Orlando as part of a multiple trade involving Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, among others.

He only played one year in the NCAA college basketball with the University of St. John's before jumping to the NBA, averaging 15.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks.

Now in his second NBA season with Orlando, he is averaging 6.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocks at 21:28 minutes per game, while throwing 48.5 percent from the field and 35.8 percent in triples (67 - 24).

The contact to ensure the participation of Harkless, is thanks to the intervention of former general manager of the Gigantes of Carolina, Joel Katz , who at the time had also been the main contact with Rick Pitino.

"Over the past five months we have been working on trying to integrate Moe to our team. I want to acknowledge the help that our consultant Joel Katz has given us throughout this process," said the President of the Basketball Federation of Puerto Rico, Carlos Beltran, who recalled that the efforts to recruit Harkless for the National Team began two years ago when he played for the University of St. John's in the NCAA. "On one hand, his participation gives a new dimension to our team, while on the other, can increase the interest of Puerto Rican fans in Orlando."

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