Thursday, February 21, 2013

A few thoughts on Harry Giles, best freshman I've seen in 20 years

I went to the High Point Wesleyan-Raleigh Ravenscroft state quarterfinal playoff game today to see and write about Wesleyan's 6-6 junior guard Theo Pinson. That story will run in Friday's editions of the Observer.

Pinson is as good as advertised. He's ranked No. 13 in the nation and it's easy to see why. He can jump out of the gym and get to the basket at will. I very much enjoyed his skill set.

I wrote in my notebook during the game:

-- "Reminds me a little of how Jerry Stackhouse attacked rim in high school.'
-- "Really wants the ball on defense when he wants it. Could be a lockdown defender if he chooses."
-- "Very long, athletic and as fast as anyone on the floor."
-- "Will be a major problem if he develops a jump shot."

But as I'm observing Pinson, I can't help but notice Wesleyan's freshman 6-8 power forward Harry Giles. He caught a pass flat footed -- in traffic -- and jumped off two feet, cocked the ball back with his right hand and slammed it in traffic.

Giles reminds me of former Clemson center (and LA Laker) Elden Campbell with how he looks, and Giles -- besides the obvious need for physical strength -- doesn't appear to have many weaknesses.

I saw him dribble the full the length of the floor a few times. I saw a smooth outside jump shot, stroked with the kind of confidence that only comes when you have made a lot of them in big situations. I shot shot blocking with the proper hand and phenomenal rebounding technique.

Giles runs the floor the way I used to see Antawn Jamison do it when he was at Providence High School. In fact, the 6-9 Jamison was the guy I kept thinking of when I saw Giles, and I don't think I've seen a better freshman since Jamsion, way back in the early '90s.

And a national college player of the year award and two max NBA deals later, Jamison's playing career didn't turn out too badly.

"Harry's special," said Wesleyan coach Keith Gatlin, a former ACC point guard at Maryland. "He's only 14 and doesn't turn 15 until April. It's amazing to see a kid who can move and handle (the ball) and pass like that. He's a joy to coach and he's a great kid."

I don't think Giles is done growing either. I spoke with his father, Harry Sr., who is a elementary school teacher in the Greensboro area. Harry Sr. is 6-6 and Giles' mother is 6-foot. There are 7-footers in the immediate family.

Last fall, Giles attended a USA Basketball mini-camp in Colorado for players who may be selected for this summer's U-16 team. ESPN national recruiting analyst Dave Telep, who attended the camp, thought Giles was the best player there.

"I spent three days with Harry Giles at USA Basketbal Tryouts," Telep said, "and you just left shaking your head at the things he can do as a 14-year-old basketball player. His awareness in the lane, his passing ability, his feel for the game is amazing. He was the best 2016 player at the camp."

By the time he's a senior, Giles may have a real shot to be the best high school player in America.


Anonymous said...

I met these kids while they was attending Countdown to Craziness! Great basketball players & both have bright futures!