Harry Giles is a bit of a mystery man for the Blue Devils after a year away from the court recovering ...

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player preview: Harry Giles

Harry Giles

  • Year: Freshman
  • Height: 6-foot-10
  • Position: Center/Power Forward

Game Breakdown: Giles was the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2016 according to ESPN despite ACL tears costing him his sophomore and senior seasons of high school. Giles’ junior year—the last year he was healthy—the Winston-Salem, N.C., native averaged 23.9 points and 12.5 rebounds per game for Wesleyan Christian Academy. Giles blew away college coaches with his athleticism that allows him to play either frontcourt position.

Giles boasts a 6-foot-10 frame with a 7-foot-3 wingspan that makes him a menace on the defensive end. He is very agile for a big man, making him a major deterrent for anyone driving to finish at the rim. Giles will also challenge any shot with his length and fight for every rebound. He can be truly dominant on the boards—at the 2015 U19 World Championships, Giles collected almost 20 percent of Team USA’s missed shots. He has the ability to catch passes in traffic and finish at the rim with either hand, but his jumper needs fine-tuning, so expect most of his offensive contributions to be around the rim.

Role on the Team: Giles had to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in early October unrelated to his ACL tear, putting him out for at least six weeks. When asked at ACC media day last week about Giles’ status, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski declined to set a timetable for his return to action. When he does make his Duke debut, Giles will likely anchor the team on the defensive end and provide rim protection and rebounding. The Blue Devils have the luxury of not having to rely on Giles as their main offensive option, so although he will certainly get touches on the offense, don’t expect him to be a focal point. He will likely be a reliable post scorer who will give defenders fits with his soft touch on jump hooks.

NBA Comparison: With his intensity on the floor and superstar potential on the defensive end, it is only natural that Giles be compared to the recently retired former MVP and 15-time All-Star Kevin Garnett. Garnett was well-known throughout the NBA for the focus and intensity he brought every night as well as his off the charts athletic ability. If he can stay healthy, Giles has the chance to fit into this mold and be the perfect big man for the modern NBA.

Projected stats: 11.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.6 BPG

Stay tuned to the Blue Zone for our continuing player previews with redshirt freshman Justin Robinson tomorrow. Previous players previewed include Jack WhiteJavin DeLaurierFrank JacksonMarques Bolden and Jayson Tatum.

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