Giles Hopes To Make Hometown Proud
May 31, 2013 • Colorado Springs, Colo.
For 15-year-old Harry Giles, the script couldn’t have been written any better to start his high school basketball career.
The 6’9” forward, who is currently in the running for a spot on the USA Men’s U16 National Team in Colorado Springs, Colo., led Wesleyan Christian Academy (N.C.) to the 2013 North Carolina Independent Schools Athletics Association Class 3A state championship and was named MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year just within the last few months.
“I didn’t expect it to go that good, but it basically kind of went perfect,” Giles said of his 2012-13 season accomplishments.
Growing up in Winston-Salem, N.C., a town known more commonly as the home of the first-ever Krispy Kreme Doughnuts than producing standout basketball players, Giles began playing basketball at the age of three.
His first trip to Colorado Springs occurred last October when he participated in the 2012 USA Developmental National Team mini-camp. From attending the mini-camp, he was able to connect with several athletes who are also back trying out this weekend. Having already established a familiar level with some of the players is something Giles considers a positive.
“It just makes it more fun when you’re going against people you know,” he admitted.
From Giles’ perspective, nothing comes easy during the USA training camp practice sessions. When asked to compare the training camp practices to ones he’s accustomed to at Wesleyan Christian, Giles responded, “Our practices at Wesleyan are tough. Here, every practice is going to be tough, every single drill, everything is going to be tough because you’re trying to make the team.”
As the second training camp session wrapped up this morning, Giles admits he still hasn’t totally settled in.
“I’m still trying to find my rhythm a lot,” he said. “I haven’t played bad, but I can play a lot better than I have.”
What should be an advantage for Giles when the selection committee begins making cuts is his versatility. Despite being the second youngest athlete at training camp, he runs the floor fluidly for his size, has good range on his shot, and helps alter plenty of shots with his length.
“I just try to be the best I can be every time I step on the court,” Giles said.
In order for Giles to be one of the 12 players selected to the Men’s U16 National Team, his attitude and determination have to stand out. That’s one reason he’s been trying to soak up as much as he can from Don Showalter, the USA Developmental National Team head coach.
“He’s taught me a lot,” Giles said of Showalter. “He’s taught me about choices, comfort zone, communication with my body language skills. My body language used to be off a little bit before I came here. He just taught me to have good body language because it shows, and it’s important.”
Benefitting tremendously from his first experience with USA Basketball seven months ago, Giles described it as motivation when he received another invitation in the mail this spring. If he does in fact make the USA U16 National Team, he stated that not only would the honor be the biggest of his basketball career, but also of his life.
“It would be a huge honor just to represent my country and just go back home and say I represented the country,” Giles said. “Because in my town, there’s a lot of people that either don’t think I can do it, or really can’t believe I can do it coming from Winston-Salem. Chris Paul comes from there, but doing this (playing for USA Basketball), there’s not a lot of people that come from there. It’d just be big. It would mean a lot to me and my family.”