(First posted at Upside & Motor.)
Prior to the summer, Draft Express had Harry Giles III ranked as the top prospect for the 2017 draft, despite the fact the 18-year-old (April birthday) tore his right ACL in November and subsequently missed the majority of his final year in high school. It was the second time Giles III injured one of his knees, as he had previously tore his left ACL a couple of years prior.
Remaining so well thought of as a potential pro, despite the fact both his knees have already been cut open at such a young age, speaks volume to the sort of performances Giles III put on last summer for the United States Junior National Team at the 2015 FIBA World Championships U19 in Greece and for Team CP3 at the Nike EYBL circuit. This evaluation is based on how he looked and the skills he displayed on those two events.
Giles III was a terrific athlete prior to the injury. Standing at six-foot-10, he moved extremelly fluidly for someone his size and could explode off the ground in a pinch.
That athleticism was maximized getting him on the move. Both Team CP3 and the United States Junior National Team set baseline screens for him to shift from one side of the block to the other in order for him to set deep position in the low post, since Giles III didn’t play with a lot of force despite weighing in at 235 pounds in the summer of 2015.
Neither team played pick-and-roll with proper spacing and he didn’t dive hard to the basket regularly but still managed to get plenty of finishing opportunities. On those, Giles III showed soft hands to catch the ball in traffic, coordination to rise up and finish at the rim without needing to gather himself, leaping ability to play above the rim as a target for lobs and impressive explosiveness to finish strong elevating out of one foot.
He was also quite energetic on the offensive glass, possessing a seven-foot-three wingspan to rebound outside of his area and second-jump-ability to fight for tip-ins and 50-50 balls. According to RealGM, Giles III collected 19.7% of the United States’ misses when he was on the floor at the 2015 FIBA World Championships U19. And based on stats researched at d1circuit.com, he grabbed 6.1 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes in 23 appearances at the EYBL circuit a couple of seasons ago.
Defensively, Giles III also rellied on his length, agility and leaping ability to make an impact as well.
Despite the fact his weight looked well distributed in his frame, he didn’t play post defense with a lot of toughness and often couldn’t hold ground. But he did use his nine-foot-one standing reach very effectively to wall-off opponents and make it extremelly tough for them to shoot over him.
Giles III played pick-and-roll defense flat footed and didn’t contain dribble penetration through good positioning but shuffled his feet well enough to shadow drivers and block or effectively contest shots at the rim. He also flashed some ability to pick up smaller players on switches, looking generally more engaged in individual defense, bending his knees to get low in a stance and putting in the effort to stay alive in these plays.
Giles III has the tools to be an outstanding rim protector but wasn’t as much of a force rotating off the weak-side in help-defense, though – blocking just 30 shots in 23 appearances at the EYBL circuit and eight shots in seven games at the Worlds U19.
Although prone to getting pushed out of the way by tougher big men from time to time, he was generally attentive to his boxout responsibilities and pursued the ball on the defensive glass with as much energy as on the other end – collecting 32.3% of opponents’ misses in Greece and averaging 13.3 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes in AAU ball.
Giles III flashed some glimpses of an extremelly appealing skill-set for someone his size but one not fully polished by that point.
His footowork in the post is very smooth but he didn’t use many shot-fakes or up-and-unders and his touch on turnaround hooks was iffy. That touch was also iffy on non-dunk finishes around length at the rim.
Giles III flashed some ball skills isolated at the top of the key, taking it to the basket on straight line drives and even proved himself willing to pass on the move to spot-up shooters in the corner made open by the defense collapsing against his dribble penetration.
But his handle wasn’t that tight as of that point and he couldn’t maintain his balance through contact. I even saw Team CP3 give him a ball-screen 23 feet away from the basket but Giles III didn’t show to have much shake side-to-side to navigate traffic and balance stopping on a dime to pull-up from mid-range in order to handle the ball in pick-and-roll regularly.
He was a capable shot maker on catch-and-shoots from range, nailing eight of 26 three-point shots at the EYBL circuit. Giles III can catch and elevate in what looks to be a single smooth motion out of standstill position but the touch on his shot was only so-so. His poor foul shooting (59.3% in 135 free throws at the EYBL, 64.3% on 28 attempts at the Worlds U19) raises doubt over his ability to develop into a legit outside threat in time.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor and at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara