One on one with Harry Giles

The top prospect in the nation, Harry Giles, is a veteran of the recruiting process.  The five star power forward has been highly pursued by all the high major programs for several years, but is now trending toward a decision.  We sat down for a one on one with Giles to discuss that process and much more.

How many times has it been now that you’ve been in Colorado for some sort of USA Basketball camp or practice or event with your attendance at this camp?

Harry Giles:  How many times? Man, probably six or seven times…it seems like I’m out here all the time, haha. 

As a veteran of USA Basketball, think back to when you first started to now—how are the relationships different for you now, who are you really close with, how different is the experience for you now?

Really I’m a leader now, I’m a veteran. I’ll definitely talk more with the young guys who are here about my first times being a part of it since they have questions. I remember seeing Jahlil here for Hoop Summit and they always felt like the older should look out for the younger guys, so now that I’m older, I’m doing that. At the same time, last couple of times, the relationship with everybody the past few times has gotten even better. It’s relationships that I needed. 

How much compare notes with anybody else while at USA Camp regarding recruiting and basketball situations?

This is the first time where I’ve been here and really felt like an older guy, so I talk to some of the younger guys, they obviously have to want to be around you, so they’ll ask me where I am with my process to see where I’m at and I’ll ask them too. I just try to be an older figure for them. Everybody’s just been asking me when I’m going to commit, but that’s really it. 

You’ve been one of the most highly recruited guys in your class for almost four years now. You’ve had tons of visits, meetings, talks with the coaches and now you are starting what is the final steps of your process with your official visits and final meetings with the coaches. With that in mind, I’m curious as to what are you looking to get out of these last visits and meetings with the coaches that you don’t already know?  Is there a big difference between your approach with these final steps when compared to previous meetings and visits with the coaches ?

Most definitely, it’s a lot more serious now because I’m trying to make the final decision and figure out what I’m going to do, and where you want to go.  My parents tell me when you go on the visit you gotta picture it as is this a place you feel like you can go to, see what the life is like. Then with the players, you gotta see if you can be one of the guys and I need to see where I fit the most.

So with these last visits is there any new information that you feel you really need to learn about each program?  Or are you going in trying to firm up your impressions?

Both I guess. You learn something about the campus when you go there because you go and see how it is when you are there. Then at the same time with the coaches, you see how it is for yourself and you ask yourself do I like this school and can I see myself here? 

You recently started at Oak Hill after having first considered it as an option several years ago. What do you think it was with you and your family this time that changed your minds that led you to say, “this is the right time to go”?  

I really just felt that it was the best place for me to be at this point in my career. I wanted to go out there and focus on basketball and school and dedicate to my career. It was about being the best basketball player that I could be, that’s why I decided to go. My parents told me this time that it was up to me if I wanted to do it, and I felt comfortable in doing it this time. Then we put things down pen to paper on why it would be better and they said that if you want to go do it, then go do it. 

Was you deciding not to go a few years ago to Oak Hill, was that more based on your own decision, or did you lean heavily on how your parents felt about that situation then?

It was both. They helped me in my decision-making process, they heard me out and I asked them to give me their thought process on it. So they helped me a lot because they gave me their feedback even though it was my decision to make. I think sophomore year I probably wasn’t ready to be away from home, it was kinda early then to be isolated. Then going through the injury and I was hurt, so I was trying to make sure that I could be the player I’m supposed to be. So I had that injury and there was no way to tell what kind of player I was going to be then. 

Were there any parts of your game you felt needed to be challenged or grown when you went to Oak Hill?

It was just improving on everything. I definitely wanted to tighten up on ball-handling, work on my jump shot to get more consistent and definitely get more stronger.

How much has being at Oak Hill changed how you have gone about the communication process with the coaches recruiting you?

You can’t talk to them as much like you did before, so when you do have time to talk with them, it’s important. It’s business when you talk. It’s different because I’m older and it’s about time for me to commit to a school, so when I can talk to them, especially when I go on my recruiting visits-they can talk to me there, you just gotta get to the point and talk about what’s important moving forward.

Are there any examples you can share of questions or dialogue you are having with coaches now that is really different from questions you asked earlier in your recruiting process with the coaches recruiting you at this point?

I’m really not sure, they tell me a lot about how they see my game and how they would play me if I went there. 

In looking at the Duke recruitment, is there a big change in how they are communicating with you now versus when they first started recruiting you several years ago? 

To be honest, there’s no difference. They talk to me the same, the same way they have done in the past. They have always been serious with me.  Them and Kentucky, they’ve always been honest and straightforward with me the entire time—so there’s not really anything that’s changed with that. Duke talks with me how they would play me, how I feel, and if they don’t have anything to add, I’m just waiting for the visits to talk over everything and put everything on the table and figure out the plans.

What are your thoughts on Duke’s pitch to you with your potential role?

They said I could be the best player I could be and they would help me to develop with that if I went there.  All the other schools if I were to go there said they would help me develop if I went to their school. 

Has Jayson (Tatum) been more active in talking with you about Duke since he committed during the summer?

He’s talked a little but he’s my boy and we were boys first.  He’s not going to tell me all the time that he wants me to go to Duke, but he wants me to go to Duke.  At the same time he tells me to make the right decision for you and if it works out for you to come, great.

How much lead time did you have that he was going to commit to Duke?

I knew he liked Duke and he liked other schools too. I kinda knew and my mom, personally, she had an idea.

I remember back in April you shared that you and Jayson and your families had a meeting about recruiting, have you guys and your families had any more of those types of meetings since then?

Not really, it wasn’t necessary. 

Just curious, was there any rhyme or reason with you and your family into how you slotted the different official visits when you did?

No, it was more just looking at Midnight Madness and when I could go, so it wasn’t a bad time to go with some of those.  With the Duke visit that was kinda around when we wanted to go, but at the same time, it was an open weekend and I had to think about when I had to be here at Oak Hill with my teammates and I looked at specific weekends when I could go visits schools because I only had certain weekends that I could visit schools. 

What’s the plan with you and your family after the official visits?  Have you started working on the next steps?

The plan was made before I stated making my visits.  That’s why I was making the visits so I could figure out what I wanted to do. We’ll probably talk after I take all my visits, we’ll sit down with my family and figure out what I want to do. 

Are you leaning 100% for sure that you are deciding and committing during the November signing period?

Not 100%, but it’s a goal and I’m trying to decide by then, I’ll say by the end of the year. We’ll see. 

Is it fair to say you’re 100 percent committed to taking all of your five visits?

Yes, most definitely.

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