As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics  own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins  trade) and 51.
Position: Small forward
School: St. John’s
Weight: 208 pounds
Achievements: 2012 Big East Rookie of the Year
Key 2011-12 stats: 15.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.6 steals, 45.2 FG%, 36.1 minutes
What he brings: Harkless is a long, athletic forward who runs the floor well. He has a great first step and, thanks to his solid ball-handling, footwork and agility, he attacks the rim well. The 19-year-old also has a solid mid-range jumper, and while he isn’t a terrific 3-point shooter, he has quality shooting mechanics that may allow him to be a solid 3-point shooter with some coaching. He reads the passing lanes well on defense and forces a lot of deflections and blocks.
While Harkless can get to the rim, he really can’t create his own shot, and his pull-up isn’t great. He also needs to add muscle in order to be a more effective forward. The St. John’s product is also stuck between the 3 and 4 positions, because he’s not a good enough shooter for the small forward position and not strong enough for power forward.
Harkless still has major potential and could be a great NBA player if he develops properly.
Where the Celtics could get him: Harkless is projected as a mid-to-late first-round pick. ESPN’s Chad Ford predicts Harkless to the Celtics with the 21st pick in his mock draft 6.0.
Notes: Harkless won the Daily News Queens High School Player of the Year award as a junior. He transferred to the South Kent school in Connecticut for his senior year.
Video: Here’s a highlight mix of Harkless.