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Saturday / April 13.
  • Harry Giles Makes USA U19 Cut, Talks Recruiting

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    gilesJPGIf all goes right for Harry Giles, he could win his third gold medal in three years this summer with USA Basketball.

    The 6-foot-10 Giles out of Winston-Salem (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian won gold in 2013 at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Uruguay and in 2014 at the FIBA U17 World Championship in Dubai.

    Now he is among 16 finalists for the U19 World Championship team that will play in Crete, Greece June 27-July 5.

    “It would be great to travel,” Giles told SNY.tv by phone Monday night after the first round of cuts were announced. “This would be my third country in three years, so to be able to just travel the world like I have it’s an honor and a blessing. And at my age to be able to go to Greece and play for a gold medal with the USA team, it’s a blessing.”

    It’s already been quite a spring and summer for Giles, who was recently named the No. 1 player in the Class of 2016 by ESPN.com.

    “It felt good,” he said. “You can let it get too much to your head. You gotta stay humble. I’m blessed with the ranking, but at the same time you gotta work hard and let it motivate me and keep working.”

    On the recruiting front, Giles is considering eight schools — Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Kansas, Syracuse, Ohio State and UNLV — but he said the first four are “probably” recruiting him the hardest.”

    “Probably Duke, Kentucky, Carolina, Wake Forest, probably those four,” he said.

    Giles said he hopes to take some visits later this summer and then cut his list once more.

    “I’ll probably cut it again after I take a coupe visits to schools, so probably end of the summer,” he said. “I’m trying to plan some visits though.”

    Asked if he knows which schools he will visit, he said, “I don’t know yet. I’m trying to ask all my people about that first.”

    Giles also broke down all eight schools on his list:

    Duke: “Coach K is a legendary coach, great guy. I have a great relationship with the coaching staff. It’s at home as well so you can never go wrong staying at home. And they’re just legendary, they produce a lot of pros. The players got a relationship with the coach after they leave Duke.”

    On whether he talks with Jason Tatum and Dennis Smith about a package deal: “We talk about it here and there. We just talk as boys…We kind of throw it in there from time to time but we gotta make the right decision for us.”

    Kentucky: “Coach Cal [John Calipari], great dude, man. I have a great relationship with him. I’ve known him since my freshman year. He developed a lot of players at Memphis and Kentucky, so I can relate to that. Kentucky’s a great place, a great program, so you can never go wrong going there.”

    North Carolina: “Not really [concerned about the academic scandal]. You never really know the truth, so it don’t bother me. You just gotta trust the coaching staff that’s recruiting you to tell the honest truth.”

    Wake Forest: “Coach [Danny] Manning is a great dude. He’s from North Carolina as well. We’re kind of similar…Wake Forest is in my hometown where I live so Wake Forest wouldn’t be a bad deal, either.”

    Kansas: “Great program, they’re known for developing bigs. Coach [Bill] Self is cool, the coaching staff is really cool, so you can never go wrong with them.”

    Syracuse: “[Jim] Boeheim’s my man, great dude. Also they produce a lot of bigs.”

    Ohio State: “They’ve had some good bigs in the past. Coach [Thad] Matta’s a good dude, I like coaching staff, got a great relationship with them and I just like the way they play.”

    UNLV: “They like to run, I like that, too.”

    For now, Giles is just focused on making the U19 team and trying to win another gold.

    “It would be great,” he said. “This would be my third gold medal. To win my third gold medal in three years, that would be a blessing.”


    Photo: USA Basketball

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.

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