“I honestly do not know what happened. Everything was going great and now Harkless canceled the trip and everything is complicated. Since then everything has been more difficult. We do not know if the pressure of the Orlando Magic team or the people around him, but communication has not flowed as before. Was a little frustrating.”
–Puerto Rico Basketball Federation President Carlos Beltran to Raul Alzaga of Primera Hora (translated by Google Translate)
Maurice Harkless was set to play for Puerto Rico at this summer’s FIBA World Cup and even expressed excitement over the prospect in January when he first agreed to it. It was something many saw as a good thing for Harkless’ development (at least I did).
However, Tuesday, Harkless’ agent announced he would not play for Puerto Rico, choosing to focus on the Magic and the upcoming season. Considering the chance to be a central focus on the team, there may have been disagreements with how Puerto Rico planned to use him (Harkless might be more of an international power forward than wing player) or Harkless simply might have changed his mind.
He declined an offer to visit Puerto Rico in late May and get acclimated before joining the team earlier this month.
Puerto Rico should still have a solid team featuring Jose Juan Barea and Carlos Arroyo. There are also reports they are trying to get Shabazz Napier to join the team.