NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — Harry Giles III is not here to play around.
The nation’s top recruit according to many services, the youngest Harry Giles (his father is one of his coaches) was a one-man wrecking ball for Team CP3 during the team’s two lopsided victories on the opening day of the Nike EYBL Peach Jam. A year after a slow start all but ended Team CP3’s tournament chances, Giles said the early success was both satisfying and important as he continues to build skills and momentum heading toward his senior season.
“It’s a great start,” said Giles, who was named MVP of the entire EYBL circuit on Wednesday. “We’re 2-0. Last year after the first day we were 0-2. I go in and do my thing, play hard and dominate every game. I don’t worry about the results. I want to be the best. I want to do my best at all times.”
His best was more than enough on Day 1, as Team CP3 demolished powerhouse Chicago program Mac Irvin Fire by 24 (97-73) and Team Penny, of Penny Hardaway fame, 83-59. In fact, the second game was so out of hand that Giles sat through much of the second half, putting a damper on his stat line; he finished with 8 points and 11 rebounds. His morning performance earned him an impressive 25 point, 11 rebound double-double.
Perhaps just as impressive as Giles’ performance was his ability to block out the crowd and focus, all with some of the nation’s elite coaches watching his every move. Against Team Penny Giles was watched by both Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who left at halftime to catch the second half of the game that featured fellow top recruit Jayson Tatum.
Whether he ends up playing for either of those coaches remains to be seen. He rejected the popular sentiment that he was only interested in playing for schools in his home state of North Carolina — “It’s not true,” — and also insisted that his decision was still in the distant future, even while Tatum says he could announce a decision in the coming month.
Of course, Giles has that luxury. There aren’t many players who can make their decision on their own time, without risking any support or potential opportunities. Giles can, and he knows it, just as he clearly knows that he’s the best player on any prep court he sets foot on.