His singular focus is on showing anyone who’s watching that he’s still here. That he’s still among the best high school players in the country.
“People forgot about me so I just tried to wake them up a little bit, “said Giles, the top-ranked class of 2016 player in North Carolina. “You could tell they were thinking like ‘he’s not gonna be back the same.’ I just knew I had to work hard and show them that I didn't missed a step. I’m still here.”
Coaches, scouts, media and fans certainly remembered Giles on Wednesday night.
His CP3 17U team’s elimination game against The Family was standing room only. Near tip-off, Nike officials at the Riverview Park and Activities Center opened up an adjacent court so more fans could take in the game.
Coaches from Syracuse, Michigan State, N.C. State, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina (Roy Williams) watched. Even NBA all-star and CP3 namesake Chris Paul was on hand.
And Giles didn’t disappoint.
As the lone big-man for CP3 he embraced manning the paint and used his strength and athleticism to wear down The Family’s frontline. His sense of urgency set the tone, and his double-double production (21 points, 15 rebounds) led the way, in CP3’s win.
“I wasn’t gonna be able to bounce it a lot because they have little guards,” explained Giles. “So I just went inside and dominated like I knew I could. I don’t want my (EYBL) season to end too early. If we had lost it would’ve been like a little invitational tournament. I’m excited about the win, I gave it my all.”
Thirteen months after injuring his knee playing for USA Basketball, Giles said he’s between 85 and 90 percent.
So close to being 100 percent, with offers from the college game’s top programs, it’s easy to wonder what’s keeping him motivated.
“I’m never too big for anything,” he said. “I just like to play hard. Humble dude, I don’t really ever take anything for granted. I love to play basketball, regardless of the scouts and the fame and all that. I just want to play.”
Giles’s animated on-the-court nature and aggressive play looked less like a player trying to impress coaches and more like a kid happy to be home after a long absence.
“First (after the injury) it was just a mental thing,’ said Giles. “Just getting through your mind that you’re hurt. Ups and downs, some days were better than others. I just prayed about it, got my confidence up and talked to good people around me. I just worked hard and I got back to where I am.”
With former teammate Theo Pinson now a freshman at UNC, Giles has embraced the responsibility of being CP3’s leader.
“There’s a lot of great players that came through the CP3 organization,” he said. “They told me that they’re gonna pass it down to me. I’ve always been waiting for that moment. It’s an honor.”
Giles has spoken to Pinson, who was also his teammate at Wesleyan (N.C.) High Point Christian, since he enrolled at Carolina last month.
“He said it’s going good,” Giles said. “He said practice is tough, he said it’s a lot. (Pinson said) 'Go in with a good mindset and everything will be alright. Just be ready to work.' He wants me to just enjoy my recruiting process and just play.”
Giles said his recruitment is “steady” and that he doesn’t plan to cut his list or make a decision anytime soon. Any movement in his recruitment is going to wait until the conclusion of the summer circuit.