'Canes Lead For Top Center

His suitors include three of the most prolific college programs in the country, yet C.J. Giles has Miami as his leader. It's true: Giles plays basketball and not football. The 6-11, 230-pound Rainier Beach (Wash.) senior, who was always considered a virtual lock to attend USC, has the Hurricanes atop a list that also features Arizona and Kansas.

"My top school is Miami," Giles said. "But that could change when I go to Kansas."

Giles took an official visit to Miami earlier this month and will head to Kansas this weekend and Arizona for Midnight Madness in mid-October. North Carolina tried to get in the mix a couple weeks ago, but Giles and his father, Chester, felt it was too late for the Tar Heels.

With Darius Rice in his final season, it's been clear what the primary sales pitch of Perry Clark and his staff has been.

"I really like the coaching staff. They are all cool," Giles said. "They have a good team and I think they are going to be much better. They told me that I can come in and be a factor right away."

It's about opportunity. Something he had to wait his turn for in high school.

Giles played on the same team last season as Rainier Beach's high-flying twins, Rodrick and Lodrick Stewart, who are currently freshman at USC. Giles averaged 11.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4 blocks per game after being forced to sit out his sophomore year due to the fact he transferred into Rainier Beach.

"C.J. has grown leaps and bounds from a year ago," Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea said. "He's not even the same player."

"He put on 10-15 pounds and is starting to get the confidence he didn't have," added Bethea. "Now he knows he's 6-11, can dunk on people and also go around them whenever he wants. He's so dominating on defense as well."

Giles has good bloodlines as his father played two seasons at Kansas in the early 1970's.

"His natural position in college will be the four," the elder Giles said. "He still needs to improve his defensive tenacity at the next level and his footwork needs to be a little better, but he's got good back-to-the-basket moves and seems to rise to the occasion."

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