Super-stardom on hold: Giles’ breakthrough won’t come overnight


Yes, Harry Giles is back playing for Duke. But he looks far from the player who was awarded a 5-star rating in the recruiting process.

Maybe in late January the situation will be different.

The 6-10 Giles missed his senior season of high school basketball after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in October 2015. He spent the entire year taking online courses to complete high school while rehabbing the knee at Duke.

Everything was going well until the Blue Devils started practice in early October. Giles’s left knee, which was reconstructed following torn ligaments during his sophomore year of high school, wasn’t right.

So Duke’s medical staff completed an arthroscopic procedure on Oct. 3 that kept Giles out of practice and the Blue Devils’ first 11 games of this season.

After being cleared to return to full-contact work earlier this month, Giles made his college debut last Monday when Duke beat Tennessee State. Giles played just four minutes, taking one shot — a 16-foot jump shot which he badly missed.

While he was happy to emerge from the game healthy, he wasn’t happy with where his game is.

“’Come on H, what’re you doing? What’s going on?’,” Giles said he thought to himself. “But I understand. Personally, I’m going to be on myself hard for this game. It was terrible, my performance, and I’ve just got to get better. I understand why it’s happening, but at the same time I don’t. I’m cheering my teammates on all the time, and I just have to get better and improve myself to play.”

On Wednesday night when Duke played Elon at the Greensboro Coliseum, Giles played six minutes and scored his first point when he made one of two free throws.

He missed two shots, including a short jumper in the lane over a smaller Elon defender that he knows he should have made. But all was not bad for him.

In the second half, he successfully blocked a shot and grabbed a rebound to thwart an Elon possession. It was a glimpse of how Giles can add yet another weapon to Duke’s defensive attack.

The Duke staff is taking a cautious approach with Giles, who is projected as a first-round pick in next June’s NBA Draft. No one wants to put his future in jeopardy.

That said, coach Mike Krzyzewski said now that Giles has seen limited action in two games, he’s ready to work toward even more playing time down the road.

“Now that he’s had this, we can push him even more,” Krzyzewski said. “A month from now, let’s see where he’s at.”