PEACH JAM: Giles bouncing back well

PEACH JAM: Giles bouncing back well

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- One of the big storylines this summer on the AAU circuit has been the return of Harry Giles to the court after recovering from a major knee injury that kept the elite junior out of action for almost 11 months.

"I'm feeling good," Giles said after his CP3 team's first game Friday in the EYBL Finals at Peach Jam. "I'm feeling way better since my knee's gotten a lot stronger."

The 6-foot-10 Giles, who is currently ranked Scout's No. 1 power forward and No. 3 player overall in the Class of 2016, missed most of last year with a torn ACL and MCL. At that time, he was considered by many to be the top prospect in his class, but as he's missed time, others have either risen above him or started to challenge his elite status.

"It was tough at first because I really wanted to play, but after a while I just had to accept it and motivate myself to come back and push it," Giles said. "I'm starting to feel more comfortable with it and get my confidence back in my game."

Giles estimated he was at "85 percent" strength at this point in his recovery. And, as he's proven in this event, 85 percent of Giles is as good as most players at full strength. The High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan Academy standpoint has put his impressive offensive ability on display during the first two days of the event, scoring in a variety of ways ranging from spin moves on the block for dunks to a nice jumper out to the 3-point arc.

Kentucky coach John Calipari made Giles one of his first scholarship offers in the junior class. The big man is also being recruited by major programs like Duke, North Carolina, Georgetown, Maryland, N.C. State, Ohio State and Syracuse.

He doesn't claim a top five list or any potential leaders at this point, but says he's been impressed by the Wildcats.

"It's an honor to be offered (by UK)," Giles said. "I'm not letting it go to my head. I'm appreciative of it, and I'm just going to keep working hard."

Many believe that Giles will be tough to get out of North Carolina, away from either the Blue Devils or Tar Heels, but he said his current frame of mind is "not stuck in the state." He admitted he was a "bandwagon" fan growing up, cheering for whoever was playing well at the time.

As for players, though, that is a differnet matter, and could provide some clues as to what GIles may be thinking down the line.

"Michael Jordan everything. That's all I knew," he said.

Asked what his early impressions of Calipari are, Giles, who made an unofficial visit for Big Blue Madness last year, said: "Great coach. He wants the best of you at all times. The competition (at UK) and the great players he's had, I like that."

Giles said Calipari gave him motivation to bounce back from his injury, using former Wildcat Nerlens Noel as an example. "He said it was a small thing for a giant."

He described his visit for Madness as "a great experience. It was crazy. All the players they had there, a lot of tradition."

Giles said he has been a longtime friend of another elite UK target in the Class of 2016, St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade Prep wing Jayson Tatum, who currently occupies Scout's No. 1 spot in the junior class. The two are considering many of the same college programs and would likely give a school a sure bet to land the No. 1 recruiting class if they signed as a package.

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