He’s the top player in North Carolina, one of the best in the country and will likely be suiting up for a NBA team in less than three years.
Because of his warm personality and open demeanor, other players in the class of 2016 (and 2015 and 2017) want to go to whatever college he chooses.
His high school coach, Keith Gatlin, believes his ceiling is “unlimited.” A number of recruiting analysts think he has the potential to be an all-star in the NBA and, maybe, the No. 1 overall pick in June 2017.
Coaches compare him to players like Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett, Jabari Parker, James Worthy and Len Bias.
But every morning, Giles wakes up with doubt.
“Can I really make it?” he asks himself. “Am I as good as people think? Am I really who they say I am?”
The doubt and those questions, Giles believes, are the source of his always-running-on-high motor and intensity.
“I have doubts every day,” Giles explained. “They are what motivate me. I ask myself, ‘do you want to stay in Winston-Salem? Do you want to live in the same house your whole life?’
“I love the game of basketball -- forget the money, I do it for the love. I hate losing, so I guess that just draws me to do it and be intense out there. It’s hard to explain.”
Though he’s only 16 years old, the answers to each set of questions is obvious.
The first goal for Giles is winning four state championships in four years. As a freshman he was a pivotal part of Wesleyan’s state title team, while sitting out the Trojans’ second title last year with an injury.
With JaQuel Richmond, Theo Pinson and Donovan Gilmore off playing Division I basketball, Giles has assumed the role of unquestioned leader.
“I’ve been on the team longest and I know what coach wants,” he explained. “Kwe (Parker) has some respect on the team and he’s stepped up. The games show who the leaders are and I know my guys are gonna look at me for confidence when things go bad. I talked to JaQuel and Theo about it, and they told me I have to run the team, so that’s what I’m going to do.”
Giles and Parker’s experience this year will be a little different than the Trojans’ last two seasons, however.
Giles’s last high school game before this fall was the 2013 state title game. Then he was a known, but still mostly under-the-radar, freshman.
Now, he and Parker’s nightly dunk exhibitions are the dreams of fans and mix tape purveyors. Because of the spotlight, Wesleyan gets other team’s best shot.
“Teams have nothing to lose,” Giles said. “If I was in the same position (as them), I’d do the same thing. If we kill them, then they were supposed to get killed. If they do good, they can get some looks off us. We have to bring it every night. If we beat them by six, they still won the game in their minds.”
The second goal for Giles is to dominate the opposition. Every minute. Every quarter. Every half. Every game.
“I just want to be great,” he said. “I want to dominate at all times. I don’t want anyone to think they’re better than me. Sitting out last year put that thought in my mind. Just always go out there and play with a chip on your shoulder and do what I do.”
The third goal for Giles is to begin building a brand, along with his parents and closest friends. If he is the CEO of Brand Giles, his parents serve as the managers.
“They’re everything to me,” he said of his parents. “They’re the base of the brand, I’m the face and they’re the base. They make sure everything is working behind the scenes.”
A huge part of brand building is picking a college.
“I want to go somewhere that wants you for the right reasons and isn’t trying to use you,” he said. “I want to go somewhere that’s going to help take you to another level. A place that can help you make your brand bigger. That’s why people go to some colleges – you got John Wall here, Jabari Parker there, (Andrew) Wiggins, they went somewhere to help their brand out.”
If other blue-chip high school players have their way, Giles will be in college with some of his good friends. Jayson Tatum, Dennis Smith Jr., Seventh Woods (all 2016 players with UNC offers) are among those that have been linked in some form of potential package deal with Giles.
Their desire to play with him isn’t unique. Fans, coaches, players and media members all gravitate towards Giles.
He knows why.
“I’m a people person,” he said. “I can always relate to anyone’s situation whoever you are. You can be crazy, cool, calm and I don’t treat anyone differently. I treat everyone with the same amount of respect I would if I met LeBron James or the President.”
Thirty days from now, Giles will be eligible to begin taking official visits. Though nothing is set in stone, he plans to take some official trips before the start of his senior season.
In the meantime, the sold-out “Wesleyan Show” will make stops at the annual HighSchoolOT invitational in Raleigh and at the famed City of Palms tournament in Florida this month.
“I've just got to make sure I’ve got my head-on straight and keep my name clean,” he said. “When I step on the court, I’m representing myself and my school.”
Harry Giles Profile
The Harry Giles Brand
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