2016 Intro: Harry Giles

The moments following Wesleyan Christian Academy's 67-59 loss to St. John Bosco this past December define Harry Giles III as a person, and as a basketball player.

"I was really mad after the game," said Giles. "I can't stand losing. I told myself, ‘I'm going off tomorrow. We're not losing our next game. I can't let it happen.'"

Wesleyan topped Christ School of Asheville by 17 the next day with Giles contributing 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals.

Whether it's video games with friends, shooting around with his dad or challenging some of the best young players in the country – Giles and losing don't get along well.

That ultra-competitiveness is rare, particularly for a 6-foot-8, 210-pound freshman who can easily dominate smaller opposing teams with size and athleticism.

Giles's drive - and ability - has been shown in a now-infamous training video that detailed one of his in-season workout sessions.

The video, his performances at the USA Developmental National Team mini-camp last year and with Wesleyan Christian during its state-championship season have already generated a national buzz for Giles.

At the USA camp in October 2012, the 14-year-old Giles was the second-youngest player in attendance. His play, however, showed an uncommon ferocity and ability for his age.

Scout.com recruiting analyst Josh Gershon said Giles was one of the more productive players at the camp.

"If he got the ball close to the basket he would either smoothly lay it in or throw it down on an opponent with a vicious one-handed dunk," Gershon added. "He ran the court extremely hard and found himself in the middle of every play."

Performances like the one at USA camp and throughout the high school season prompted a veteran preps writer in North Carolina to call Giles the best in-state prospect he's seen since Antawn Jamison.

Another national scout said Giles is among the best post players, not in his class, but in all of high school basketball.

His high school coach, former Maryland guard Keith Gatlin, compared him to reigning NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant.

Those kinds of comparisons and superlatives are usually accompanied by caveats like "if he keeps working hard" or "if he continues to have a passion for the game."

Neither is an issue for Giles.

"Harry is scary," Gatlin said. "He's very skilled and he can handle and shoot. Thank God we got him at a young age (at Wesleyan). His family keeps him very grounded and does a great job of keeping the handlers and all the followers away from him. With a kid as talented as Harry, you have to keep your circle small, put your head down, work hard and let everything else take care of itself."

In his first season at Wesleyan, Giles averaged 12.5 points and nine rebounds per game – impressive for a freshman, playing with two upperclassman high-major Division I players (Theo Pinson, JaQuel Richmond).

"I think, when it's all said and done, he'll be a combo forward," said Gatlin. "He's still growing into his body and I've seen him do some stuff in practice, shoot threes, passing and all that, that are just unbelievable."

Gatlin's evaluation is similar to the one Giles, who expects to grow several more inches, has of himself.

"I'm the type of player who has an all-around game," said Giles. "I can pass the ball, I have a good mid-range game, I can take people off the dribble and lead and run the fast break. I think I have a killer instinct inside of me that some don't have. I just want to be the best; I just want to win."

"By the time I get to college I think I'll be a stretch '4,'" Giles continued. "I watch (Kevin) Durant with the way he can shoot and then LeBron (James) with how powerful he plays. I want to do both."

Giles's unofficial national unveiling is set to begin this spring, starting with Dave Telep's Carolina Challenge this Saturday, which features the best rising sophomores, juniors and seniors in North Carolina.

"There are a lot of great players that have come through that camp and played in the NBA, so it's an honor to have been selected," Giles explained. "I want to show people something they've never seen before. I want to prove to them that all the talk and hype is real. But I also want to just go out have fun and enjoy everything."

After the Carolina Challenge, Giles will spend the spring and summer running with the CP3 16U team on Nike's EYBL circuit.


Though he can't officially communicate with college staffs until June 15, Giles already is receiving serious interest from the country's best schools. Gatlin has had coaches from N.C. State, UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Miami, Florida State, Ohio State, Georgetown, Kentucky and Indiana inquire about Giles.

He doesn't have any scholarship offers, but expects them to come in short order.

"Most schools really like me and have said they'll eventually offer," said Giles. "I'm excited that all my hard work is already paying off."

In the last year, Giles has taken multiple visits to Duke and North Carolina, as well as trips to N.C. State and hometown school Wake Forest. He was at UNC's win over Virginia (pictured at right) in February and its regular-season finale loss to Duke.

"(The UNC staff) said they liked me a lot," Giles said. "I haven't been around the school that much, but I get along really good with the staff. They're cool people and are really nice to me."

Unlike most players, he didn't grow up hoping to some day play at a particular school. He described his grandmother as a "super Carolina fan" and recalls growing up watching games with her. Then, in elementary school, Giles said he was fond of Wake Forest, being a Winston-Salem native.

Giles isn't an early-decision candidate, however. He's been able to look at the recruitments of players on his high school team, within the CP3 family and in the Triad area to gauge how he'll handle his own.

"I think by my junior or senior year I'll be ready," he said. "My family, coaches, trainers and just people close to me are going to be involved in the decision."

And what is Giles looking for in a college? A familiar feeling.

"I want a place that feels like home, where things are fun but not too crazy," he said. "I want to go somewhere that I can go for multiple years and feel comfortable."

The recruiting circus that accompanies a prospect of Giles's talent can be overwhelming for many families. Giles, however, said he and his family are prepared for it.

"We know the attention is coming, so we just have to accept it," he said. "We have to get ready for the lifestyle. I have to just not get the big head, keep it humble and keep working hard. I'm going to use the attention as motivation, really."

Notes: Giles' father, Harry Giles Jr., is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he played football. ... He has older sisters who have attended Norfolk State and Old Dominion Universities. … A large number of Giles's father's family is from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. … He wears a size 17 shoe.

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