Iona’s leading scorer was a mystery when this season began. Sure, A.J. English performed well in limited duty as a freshman before going down with a severe wrist injury, but he had started that season slowly.

“We really didn’t know what to expect from A.J., whether he would be that kid who played well before the injury or not,” Iona coach Tim Cluess said in a phone interview. “He was out almost six months.”

The Gaels coaching staff couldn’t have imagined this.

English, whose father A.J. was an All-American at Virginia Union and played two seasons in the NBA for the then Washington Bullets, has been a revelation at the point guard spot for the Gaels, their surprising and electric scoring leader and a heady floor general.

Cluess said his emergence began in a loss to national powerhouse Kansas Nov. 19, when English scored 21 points against a team full of lottery picks. It reminded Cluess why he recruited English in the first place.

“He was a kid who would step up to any challenge, he would have no fear and play that way,” Cluess said. “He’s just one of those guys who have something to prove every time he steps on the court.”

The lightly recruited Wilmington, Del., product is averaging 17.9 points a game, along with 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists. He has three 30-point games and has reached double figures in 22 of Iona’s past 25 games with a pair of 13-assist performances. It has been a continuation of the tail end of his freshman year, when English won three MAAC Rookie of the Week awards and averaged seven points a game, before going down with a broken right wrist and missing the final 15 games.

“He’s putting up staggering numbers,” Manhattan coach Steve Masiello said.

Though Iona (19-8, 16-2) has received production up and down its roster — five players average in double-figures led by English, senior leader Sean Armand and forward David Laury — it likely wouldn’t be atop the MAAC without English, who has thrived in Cluess’ up-tempo attack. Iona clinched the MAAC regular-season crown when Quinnipiac lost to Siena last night, and the Gaels will go for the season sweep of rival Manhattan (20-7, 13-5) in Riverdale on Friday night.

“He’s got an edge that only winners have,” Cluess said.

Indeed, after a big win at fourth-place Canisius Feb. 9, English said his mind was set on atoning for the previous game against the Golden Griffins, when he felt his late turnover hurt Iona’s chances.

“I’m really hard on myself, more than anybody,” he said. “I can really work on everything.”