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Sunday / February 26.

Duke’s Harry Giles Expected to Debut Before Christmas

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NEW YORK –– Duke could get an early Christmas present in the form of a projected NBA lottery pick.

Freshman big man Harry Giles is expected to make his debut against Tennessee State on Dec. 19, a source told ZAGSBLOG. The Blue Devils play UNLV on Saturday before playing Tennessee State and then Elon on Dec. 21 — both in North Carolina.

“Harry’s practicing, he hasn’t had as much contact yet,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday night after freshman forward Jayson Tatum went for a career-high 22 points and 8 rebounds in his second game of the season as No. 5 Duke beat No. 21 Florida, 84-74, in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

“We’re hoping before Christmas, those two games. But I don’t want to put a gun to your head, like you have to do it. I’d like to see what he does during the exam period with a little bit more contact and go forward. But you can see in warmups he’s moving real well, he just hasn’t had the contact yet.

“I don’t want to make a mistake and bring him back too quickly.”

The 6-foot-10 Giles has yet to play this season after undergoing another knee procedure. A onetime projected No. 1 pick by DraftExpress.com, he’s now projected at No. 13.

How good can Duke be once Giles is added to the mix?

“He’ll bring an extra dynamic to the team,” said Amile Jefferson, who had 24 points and 15 rebounds in the win. “Just as you saw Jayson affect the game, Harry can do the same thing. And so can Marques [Bolden] and they will at different times so it’s just about getting those guys back and figuring out who we’re gonna be when they get back and just taking it a game at a time.”

Jefferson said Duke will have plenty of offensive options once Giles is added to the mix.

“I think we can be really good offensively, we can run a lot of different sets,” he said. “We can just go to one thing and pound it and keep using it offensively. And then when they find a way to stop it, we can go to something else because we have a lot of basketball players, a lot of guys who are comfortable putting the ball on the floor, making decisions and a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things, really versatile.”

The ACC has an influx of new talent ready to help their programs capture a conference championship and beyond. FSU's Jonathan Isaac, Duke's Harry Giles and Virginia's Austin Nichols are among many ACC newcomers that will certainly give their respective teams a boost. Check out the top 5 right here!

Photo: USA Today Sports

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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.