Column: No. 1 Harry Giles down, but not out

Harry Giles, Scout's No. 1 ranked player in the 2016 class, may be down, but history says don't count him out.

Harry Giles received gut-wrenching, but familiar news on Wednesday. 

Just two days before the 6-foot-10 power forward was set to have the biggest moment in his high school career, where he would announce his college decision on Sports Center, Giles was told he had torn the ACL in his right knee.

It was one of the last things Giles, who has long been considered the odds on favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, wanted to hear. Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t his first go around with an ACL injury.

While playing for USA Basketball in between his freshman and sophomore season, Giles tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee. Giles has toted a big, bulky brace on his right knee ever since.

So it had to be particularly painful for Giles to read the MRI at the Duke University Hospital, the same place he had knee surgery back in 2013.

In a conversation this past July at Rancho High School in Las Vegas, Nev., Giles opened up about his initial knee injury. Giles was relieved. He felt like he was back. You could hear it in voice. You could see it in his face. And it was evident when he was on the court.

“I think I had some doubt from some people thinking, ‘Is he going to be the same?’ when they see the knee brace. ‘Is he still going to be the same?” Giles said at the time.

“I think I took it to the next level,” he added in the same conversation. “I think I used that motivation of being hurt and having the brace and not being able to do everything I used to do and go out and just dominated every session. That was my goal with camp and USA, just go out there and being dominate.”

Giles was right. He was dominant. He had returned to form. In fact, he was playing better than ever. Through seven games at the Nike Peach Jam, arguably the top event of the summer, he averaged 17.5 points and 11.8 rebounds a game and led Team CP3 deep into the playoffs.

The full package was on display. He scored at will, owned the backboard and was playing an aggressive, physical and winning brand of basketball.

Fast forward from July to Tuesday night. Just two minutes into Oak Hill’s first game of the season, Giles went down with what he thought at the time was a minor injury. Instead it was season ending.

While Giles may be down and likely emotionally drained, don’t count him out.

“I’ll be back,” Giles texted Scout shortly after the news broke.

And if history repeats itself, whether he’s at Duke, Kansas, Kentucky or Wake Forest, he'll be better than ever.


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