Harry Giles: From number 1 ranked high school prospect in 2016 to an NBA afterthought
After we discussed the fall of Trevon Duval, who fell from the 6th ranked prospect of the 2017 high school class to going undrafted in 2018, we now look at the story of Harry Giles. Harry Giles was once considered the top prospect of the 2016 high school class, but today we don't hear anything about him. What happened?
Harry Giles was a great high school athlete. For the first three years of high school he played for Wesleyan Christian Academy. In his freshman season, he led Wesleyan to a state championship while averaging 12.5 points per game along with 9.5 rebounds. Unfortunately for Giles, he was sidelined in his sophomore year with a knee injury. This would be the first of many injuries he would endure in the coming years.
However, he came back in the summer prior to his junior season and won Co-MVP at the Under Armour Elite 24 game. He took this momentum and came out with a bang during his junior year of high school. Wesleyan would compete in the 2014-15 OT Holiday Invitational tournament, where Giles would lead the team to win the championship against fellow NBA player, Thon Maker, behind Giles' 26 points and 11 rebounds.
For the entire season, Giles was averaging 23.9 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks per game. With these monstrous numbers, Giles led Wesleyan to another state championship game, where they ultimately lost. Despite the outcome of the season, Giles had established his talent, and it became clear that he was the best player in this class.
The success of Giles in high school was mirrored in the AAU circuit. He played for the CP3 All-Stars, an AAU team sponsored by Chris Paul, and led the team to the semifinals of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League Peach Jam, where they lost against Jayson Tatum's team. Throughout the tournament, Giles averaged 18.2 points and 12 rebounds a game. His overall success in his first 3 years of high school drew comparisons to NBA great, Chris Webber.
The injury would continue to affect Giles, as he was forced to miss weeks of his freshman season for Duke University. At this point, scouts started to become nervous about Giles and possibly saw him as an injury liability.
Finally, his highly anticipated college debut happened in a late December game where he only played four minutes. This became the norm, as Giles would be on a minutes restriction for the rest of his freshman year. He averaged only 11.5 minutes a game, while putting up close to 4 points and 4 rebounds a game.
No longer was he able to put up the monstrous numbers like he did in high school, and similar to his scoring totals, his draft stock began to plummet. Giles decided to transfer to high school powerhouse, Oak Hill Academy, to play against tough competition and further establish himself as an unbelievable talent.
Unfortunately, the injury bug would make a return during Giles' senior season. Again, his knee required rehabilitating and he missed the entirety of his senior year. Due to his prior dominance in high school, he was elected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic and the Nike Hoop Summit but was forced to miss it because of the injury.
As most top high schoolers do, they attend the one year of college then decide to declare for the draft. Giles was no exception to this. However, his name would not be called until the 20th pick. The former basketball stud who was at the top of his high school class fell to the late first round and saw as his peers had overtaken him in the rankings.
The Sacramento Kings saw this as a low-risk high reward pick since it was late in the first round. They also figured not to rush Giles' debut, and had him rehabilitating and training with team trainers throughout his entire rookie year.
Finally a day ago, Giles made his debut in NBA game, during a summer league game. He finished with 13 points and 3 rebounds in a win over the Lakers. It is still too early, but in the end the Kings hope Giles can develop and get somewhat adjusted to the NBA scene through summer league.
Giles' story is more disheartening than Trevon Duval's, because in Giles' case it was because of injuries, and not because of lack of skills. Giles' talent was never questioned, he just became a very risky player, because of the injury history. Technically, Giles qualifies as a rookie this coming year. Who knows, maybe he will be a candidate for rookie of the year if he is able to regain his high school form that had many people in awe of his skill.