One on one with Harry Giles

He's ranked as the top player in the class of 2016, but a recent injury has sidelined Harry Giles for several months. As he works his way back, the talented forward says his perspective has changed when it comes to college selection. He sat down with TDD to discuss that and much more.

How has the rehab progressed?

Harry Giles: It's been going good. I've been going to rehab, trying to work through the pain and working on getting stronger.

What does your program include? What are the focuses of it?

We've been doing a lot of stuff to help me get range of motion back and I've been working on my quad area as well, trying to get it back bigger and stronger. I think it's something that you don't like in the moment, but it's something you do to get back and even though it's really hard and it hurts, you keep pushing through to get better. I'm starting to like it now.

As you've progressed through the rehab process, have you learned anything about yourself?

I'm learning that you can't take anything for granted, the same day I got hurt, the rankings came out and I was on the top of the list and I just became more humble about that. My mindset is one of working hard through this and become the best player that I can, and that can only happen through determination.

Anything in particular help you fight through this?

It really focused my mindset on talking with people around me and talking with God. He really helped me through it and just myself as a person, I just count the value in getting through everything. Talking with people like my coach and my dad who has been through stuff like this before, I talked with Chris Paul about it and I also talked with Nerlens Noel, he's been through this before so I've talked with him a lot, those two have been the biggest players I've talked to about it.

What did Nerlens say that was helpful for you?

He told me that it was going to be hard and that the pain would hurt and you are going to want to be on the court, but you have to keep working hard and stay positive, you'll be able to get through it. I've got a pretty good friendship with him, we've talked on the phone and we've been building a good friendship.

What's it like for you as a player seeing your basketball career flash before your eyes when an injury like this occurred?

It's scary to be honest man… I cried. It is hard seeing your opportunity go before your eyes because you remember back to when you first started playing and then you see yourself grow as a player. Now it's OK, but back when it happened, it felt like it was 50/50 when it came to playing, I won't lie, it was a scary moment.

Does an experience like that lead you to contemplate the opportunity you have of a college scholarship?

Oh yeah it does, that's always been a high expectation for me to get a degree and especially since you never know what could happen, it's important to have that degree for another option.

How do you balance that reality of wanting to earn the degree and having that option with the reality that if you progress as a player—going pro early could be an option for you?

You know, it's all about earning good grades and keep earning those A's because like my parents say, I'm not a dumb athlete, I'm a smart athlete who is a gifted basketball player, a smart and intelligent player and person. Getting good grades is important because you don't want to mess around in school and not be able to play, you have to have that balance.

Does the injury change any expectations you may have had about how long you want to spend in college as a player?

No it hasn't. Honestly, it just makes me push myself harder so I can see where I'm at as a player, if anything it makes me push myself even harder to get better. It's still the same.

Has the expectation been all along for you to want to be a one and done player?

Yeah, it's kinda been the dream goal, but you know I don't have a problem, I would probably want to stay two at the most I would think, but I'm just going to play as hard as I can and if the coach sees it and I see it, then I'll go. If I don't though, I'm fine with it.

Did you and your family do anything from a recruiting perspective this spring or summer or did you take it easy?

Not really, we just focused on me getting back on my feet after surgery, getting into rehab and trying to handling it, getting me back right and healthy is the focus.

How has the conversations been going with the college coaches?

It's been going good, I've talked with Duke, North Carolina, NC State checked on me, Kentucky and Wake Forest.

Who have you been talking with from the Duke staff?

I've talked with Coach K, all the Duke coaches really. We talk every once in awhile, every other week or so sometimes. They've been telling me how much they like me as a player but it's really not about that all the time when we talk, they just catch up with me on how I'm doing.

There was a lot of Twitter discussion recently about the Duke offer having happened quite awhile ago but not released until recently—can you share the particulars of the offer, how it was presented and how you responded?

I came to a game and they offered me then, Coach K told me he wanted to offer me a scholarship and he thought I'd be a good fit there and he really wanted me to come there. It was real cool.

What led you to release it at the Elite 24 recently since the offer occurred many months ago from Duke?

It was just the way I felt, I was ready to let it out, I just felt I was ready to share it.

From a big picture sense, how big a deal is it to you that you have these early offers from schools like Kentucky and Duke and North Carolina?

It's not really a big deal, I'm open to everybody, when they see me and know who I am, if they want to offer a scholarship, they will.

Are there any schools that haven't offered you that you are hoping to hear from?

Not really. I haven't heard from Kansas, I'm pretty interested in them and I'm interested to see what they bring to the table in future years. They have a really good coach and they have prepared a lot of good players. They haven't recruited me too hard yet.

Are there any schools you are going to be paying close attention to this year?

Yeah, probably all the schools who have recruited and offered me.

Are there any guys in your class you are talking about trying to play together with in college?

Yeah, me and Jayson Tatum have talked about that because me and him are pretty tight, that's always an option, he's the guy I've talked to the most about it because a lot of the great players in high school are talking about doing that. It could happen but I'm trying to make the best decision for myself.

Is there any consideration to re-classifying to an earlier class for you, that seems to be a popular trend these days.

Oh no, I'm never going to reclassify. Really, I don't need to, I would only do it if I had to, but I don't think I'm going to re-class.

So, heading into the school year, what's the general recruiting update for you?

I don't really have any favorites, because it's so early. Right now everybody is equal, and I'm open to everybody. All that being said, I want to be probably be done with recruiting before my senior year.

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