Unlike some of his fellow teammates, Maurice Harkless will not be playing for his national team this summer. In January, Harkless talked about being excited for the opportunity to represent Puerto Rico in this year’s FIBA World Cup; however, as time has worn on, things have obviously changed.
Instead, Harkless has decided he wants to stay in Orlando and hone his craft more leading up to the coming NBA season. Heading into his third year in the league, Harkless needs to take that next step in his development, and will have to fight tooth-and-nail to earn starters minutes this season. Harkless’ agent Happy Waiters told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel this regarding his clients decision to stay in Orlando for the summer.
“He wants to focus on the Magic and getting ready for his most important season to date,” Happy Walters, Harkless’ agent, told the Orlando Sentinel.
“He is 100 percent focused on getting better every day. He felt that although representing Puerto Rico would be an invaluable experience, it was not realistic to think that he could work on his game within a team atmosphere the way he could by staying here.”
Had Harkless chosen to play for his country, he’d have been the fifth Magic player to do so this offseason. Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris are both currently in Las Vegas for USA Basketball camp members of the USA Select Team. While being on the Select Team most likely won’t earn them a spot on the team headed to Spain late next month, president Jerry Colangelo said that if someone from the Select Team impressed beyond belief, they could find their way onto the roster.
Big man Andrew Nicholson is currently playing for Canada during their 11 game exhibition trip overseas this month. Swingman Evan Fournier, whom the team acquired earlier this offseason, will suit up for the French national team during the World Cup.