After a freshman season in which he averaged 15.5 points and 8.6 rebounds, and was awarded Big East Rookie of the Year, St. John’s forward Moe Harkless today announced he will declare for early entry to the NBA Draft. ESPN has the details, via the Associated Press: “Moe Harkless said one of the benefits of deciding to leave St. John’s after his freshman season and declare for early entry to the NBA draft was he wouldn’t have to answer any more questions. ‘I was hearing people yelling at me to stay,’ he said Monday at his news conference at Madison Square Garden when he was interrupted. ‘One Moe year. One Moe year. You heard me? That was me hiding behind the bush on campus yelling that,’ Red Storm coach Steve Lavin said, finally getting a stoic Harkless to break into a smile. ‘I even tried on the way over here to convince him to change his mind. He didn’t go for it.’ Harkless, the lynchpin of Lavin’s first recruiting class at St. John’s, announced his decision after a first and only season with the Red Storm (13-19) that saw him win Big East Rookie of the Year by averaging 15.5 points and 8.6 rebounds, which put him sixth and second, respectively, among freshmen nationally. ‘At the end of the season I had talks with my mom and Coach Lavin,’ the 6-foot-8 Harkless said of the time frame in making the decision. ‘I came to the conclusion over the past couple of days.’ Lavin said there were plenty of talks about the decision that included ‘healthy discussions and some tough banter.’ All the talk left Lavin sure of some things. ‘He has the confidence, the conviction and purpose in making this choice,’ Lavin said. Lavin underwent prostate cancer surgery in October and was on the bench for only four games before doctors told him to follow a modified schedule that kept him away from games. ‘I came to St. John’s to play for Coach Lavin,’ he said. ‘Unfortunately the situation didn’t allow me to play as much as I wanted to for him. We still have a good relationship and he supports me in this decision.’”