Duke superstar freshman Harry Giles is happy to finally be healthy and back on the court.
The 6-10 forward, ESPN’s No. 1 ranked high school recruit on the 2016 class, missed his entire senior season of high school with a torn ACL.
Then in October Giles had a new surgery, a left knee arthroscopy, which has delayed his start with the Blue Devils.
But he finally made his long-awaited Duke debut Monday in a 65-55 home victory over Tennessee State.
Though he only played four minutes in the game and missed the only shot he took, Giles was elated to just be back on the hardwood.
“In my last first game, I didn’t make it off the court,” Giles told reporters, “so this is a blessing for me.”
His teammates were thrilled to have Giles back as well.
“Harry, he hasn’t played in a long time, and for him to be back out there, we’re all excited,” said senior captain Amile Jefferson. “I’m happy for him. I’m happy to see him evolve and grow, get his legs back and his feel back for the game.”
“He’s an amazing person, and we all wish the best for him,” added Jefferson. “We know how good he’s going to be for our team.”
But Giles knows he has a lot of work to do to get back to his superstar self.
“Personally, I’m going to be on myself hard for this game,” Giles said of his debut. “It was terrible, my performance, and I honestly just have to get better. I understand why it’s happening, and at the same time I don’t, but I’m cheering on my teammates all the time.”
However his mates know that once Giles gets his legs underneath him, he will be a major factor on the team.
“Just like Amile, [Giles] is a really good rebounder, a very lively body and can protect the rim,” said Blue Devil senior Matt Jones. “He’s active, he’s unique and I’m waiting to see all he can do as well. I know when he’s fully there and we get him acclimated and mesh as a team, he’s going to help us tremendously.”
Giles averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds for Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, NC) as a junior, leading the team to a 30-5 record and the NCISAA 3A North Carolina state finals.
For his senior year he transferred to basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy (Va.), which has featured NBA stars such as Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant.
But in Oak Hill Academy’s first game last season, Giles tore his ACL and was ruled out for the year.
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