Who’s Got Next? Duke Lands Top Recruit Harry Giles

Posted by Sean Moran on November 6th, 2015


Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Sean Moran, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to discussing the recruitment of the top uncommitted players in the country. We also encourage you to check out his contributions at The Intentional Foul dedicated to recruiting coverage and analysis. You can also follow Sean at his Twitter account @Seanmohoops for up-to-date news from the high school and college hoops scene. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

It’s been rumored for months, but now it’s official: “I’ll be attending Duke University,” Harry Giles said at a Noon ET press conference earlier today. The 6’10” senior has been coveted by the top college coaches in America from the time he first put on a jersey at Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC) several years ago, and this article was supposed to focus on Duke’s Class of 2016 — now with the top two players committed — being one for the ages. While it might still end up this way, the somber backdrop to today’s announcement was that the nation’s top prospect tore his right ACL earlier this week and will miss his senior season at Oak Hill Acadamy (VA).

After three years at Wesleyan Christian, Giles’ transfer to the famed basketball powerhouse in the Virginia mountains meant that a high school national championship, McDonald’s All-American honors, and a National Player of the Year award were all in play. In an unfortunate but familiar twist of fate, all of those possibilities were removed when Giles heard a pop while driving to the basket against Moravian Prep (NC) on Tuesday night. The timing for his rehabilitation isn’t awful — Giles will be able to take his time to strengthen his knee in order to get ready for his freshman season in Durham one year from now, and sadly, this isn’t his first rodeo. While playing for the USA U-16 team in the 2013 FIBA Americas, Giles tore both his left ACL and MCL. He spent his sophomore season rehabilitating and it wasn’t until May 2014 when he returned to the court during Nike EYBL AAU action. He initially was nowhere near the player he had been as a freshman, and it wasn’t until almost 13 months after his injury that Giles was able to do some of the things that had previously come naturally to him. With all of the top college coaches packed into a gym in Colorado Springs for the USA U-17 tryouts, Giles threw down a rim-rattling dunk and followed that up with a smooth one dribble pull-up from 15 feet. He was back.

Before this week’s injury, Giles was a surefire lock to become a top three pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. It’s not every day that a Chris Webber reincarnation comes along — a smooth 6’10” power forward with a 7’2” wing span and the genuine ability to run the floor. Along with these physical skills, Giles also has a tenacious streak to complement post skills that include a hook shot with either hand and various stepback jumpers. He could even go coast to coast with the ball in his hands or drop off a touch pass from the top of the key. The development of his already-impressive skill set will be put on hold for a year while NBA teams wait to monitor how Giles performs in college.

Despite the injury, Duke now has the top-ranked recruiting class in the country with two of the top three players in Giles and 6’8” forward Jayson Tatum along with five-star guard Frank Jackson. The national champion Blue Devils are on top of the college basketball world right now and showing no signs of slowing down. Three years ago, Duke pulled in Jabari Parker from Chicago and showcased his skills for a single year to the tune of 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. The following year Duke landed the package deal of Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones in addition to wing Justise Winslow, and that trio led the Devils to the 2015 National Championship. Okafor and Jones had developed their friendship through summers playing USA basketball, which is eerily similar to the Giles and Tatum story this time around. While Giles’ ACL injury puts a damper on today’s big announcement, there is no denying that Duke has supplanted Kentucky as the the top destination for elite talent and will most likely be the overwhelming favorite to win another title when Giles laces up his shoes at Cameron Indoor Stadium next fall.

Sean Moran (79 Posts)

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