August 19, 2014

Coach Speak: Harry Giles

Getting Keith Gatlin to talk about Harry Giles is easy. His voice booms with great pride. He goes on and on about how much he likes the 2016 prep star, both on and off the court. He passionately discusses, not only what a great basketball prospect he is -- but what a wonderful kid the 16-year old junior is in general.

Simply put, it's easy to hear just how excited he is for Giles. And how much he likes him.

"He's just a terrific kid," said Gatlin. "He's the type of kid that just works so hard, not only on the court, which you see, but in the classroom and as a leader. He put in so much work and effort to come back from his injury and he's the type of kid that gets up at five o'clock, six o'clock in the morning to come put in the work. I couldn't have a better kid representing our program, both on and off the court."

"As good as he is now, even playing at around 90%, he is continuing to get better and he has a chance, not only to be the top player in his class, but one of the best players to ever come out of the state of North Carolina," he continued.

"He's just a nice guy, full of personality, with charisma and a personality. Everybody likes him and I tell him he gets around more than any kid that I know of, who doesn't have a drivers license."

Giles just helped his USA 17U team win another Gold medal in Dubai and now the 6-9 junior is back home, where he'll continue to work on his craft as well as hit the books. And speaking of hitting the books, Giles has been working hard in that area as well.

"He knew that he was going to be in Dubai and he's going to the Elite 24 in New York this week too, so he has been coming in early and working on his schoolwork to get ahead of the game. He's been studying so that he wouldn't get behind when he is away at the basketball events. What number one kid in the country puts in the academic work like he does?"

Giles is in the midst of one of the most heated recruiting battles between Duke and North Carolina. But those aren't the only programs that covet the gifted athlete and native of North Carolina. He's got a ton of suitors.

"Obviously North Carolina, Duke and Kentucky. Those are some of the most aggressive ones. But Wake Forest, Syracuse, there are a lot of schools that want him. Maryland has been coming on like gang busters lately," added Gatlin.

We asked Gatlin to elaborate, specifically on the Tar Heels and Blue Devils as the two ACC powers have treated Giles as a top priority for their program needs in the class of 2016. Both Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski had made it absolutely apparent that they want to sign the versatile forward. He is, arguably, the top target for both programs in the talented junior class.

"Well, Duke and North Carolina are two great options to have. And both programs have been coming hard after him. You can't go wrong with either of them and they both have a history of producing great players."

New Wake Forest coach, Danny Manning, has also focused on Giles as a big target for the Deacons.

" I keep telling Harry that he is what Danny Manning was 20 years ago," said Gatlin. "And what I mean by that is that he's a 6-10 kid that can just do it all. Danny was a guy, who at 6-10, could put the ball on the floor, handle it, shoot it and do so many things inside and outside. He was handling the ball before it was even fashionable to be a big guy who could do so."

There has also been a lot of talk about a potential package deal with Giles and Jayson Tatum, another elite level prospect from St. Louis. Gatlin admits that he's heard about it and there could be some validity to the talk.

" I know he and Jayson have formed a great freindship and closeness through the USA Basketball stuff and through the AAU tournaments. They both really like each other and they're both great kids. Jayson is a nice kid and he comes from a great family. If that's what they decide to do, that's what they decide to do and I'll be happy and support him no matter what."

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