Heytvelt, Giles Shine at 3-A Tournament

Josh Heytvelt and C.J. Giles were the two standout players at the first day of Washington's 3-A state tournament...

Josh Heytvelt, 6-10 SR PF Clarkston (Wash.) High, and C.J. Giles, 6-9 SR C Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach, were two players we felt were underrated by many analysts following the summer.

After watching both them play yesterday in the opening day of Washington's 3-A state tournament, we're more convinced than ever that Heytvelt is without question among the top 30 prospects in the country and Giles is easily among the top 50.

Both players were extremely impressive in their games yesterday at the Tacoma Dome, albeit in very different ways. Giles showed that he's really developed his low-post offensive game, as he consistently knocked down turnaround shots from the low to mid-post. His footwork is markedly improved from the summer, as he showed the ability to go to either shoulder equally well.

Rainier Beach struggled early against a fired-up Mount Rainier team. Rainier Beach was obviously not emotionally ready for what figured to be an easy first round win. Mount Rainier took advantage of the Vikings' lethargy, maintaining a lead of 10-12 points for much of the first three quarters.

But in the fourth quarter, Rainier Beach started going almost exclusively to Giles and the senior center delivered in a big way. Giles finished the game with 21 points, six rebounds, four blocks and three steals. He seemingly made nearly every big play in the fourth quarter and Beach pulled out a 58-53 win in the end.

Heytvelt didn't have as much trouble in his game, as Clarkston defeated Bellingham 70-56 to advance in the tournament. Heytvelt finished the game with 27 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks. He showed terrific versatility and more explosiveness than we saw in the summer. One sequence, in particular, was noteworthy. Heytvelt went up to the top of the square to block a shot off the backboard, then sprinted the other way, caught a lob with two hands about five feet from the basket and reached out for an emphatic dunk.

Heytvelt also demonstrated improved low-post skills, showing off a soft little bank-shot and better footwork than we remembered. So now you're talking about a guy who can post you up, knock down mid-range shots or pull you all the way out beyond the stripe and bury shots from deep.

Heytvelt has been accused of not always playing hard, but there is no questioning his skills and physical attributes. As we told a couple observers yesterday, if he wants it bad enough, there's no reason Heytvelt won't be a pro.

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