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Elite prospect Harry Giles looking to regain his spot in 2016

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

MORE: 10 Thoughts from Peach Jam | Peach Jam Notebook | UAA Finals Notebook

It wasn't long ago that Harry Giles III was considered the consensus best player in the class of 2016. In fact, many thought he was the best high school prospect to come along since Andrew Wiggins.

Then came the injury. Giles tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee, forcing him to miss 11 months. He returned at the EYBL Hampton event in May, but clearly wasn't the same player. Even at the Nike Peach Jam last week, he was probably only 85 percent.

"My knee has gotten a lot stronger," Giles said. "I'm just trying to get back to where I was. It was tough at first, because I just wanted to play. After I had been out so long, I just had to accept it and motivate myself."

He has begun to show flashes of what everyone saw a couple of years ago, though. Giles opened the Peach Jam with 21 points and 15 rebounds as Team CP3 beat The Family in a play-off for the final spot in North Augusta, S.C. He went on to average 12.6 points and 7.0 rebounds in five Peach Jam games, including 24 points and 10 rebounds against Athletes First. Giles also had nine points and 11 rebounds in a battle with top-ranked senior Ben Simmons.

Giles isn't 100 percent just yet, but the potential is still there.

“Confidence is everything," he said. "You have to have faith you won't tear it again and you're not going to get hurt. Mindset, no negative vibes.”

Giles has been recruited by the highest of high-major programs for a few years now, and it's been no different this summer. Duke sat three-deep for some of his games, while Kentucky is also making him a priority. North Carolina and Kansas have also been in pursuit since his early high school days.

He visited Kentucky last year for Big Blue Madness.

“It was a great experience," Giles said. "It was a lot of fun. The atmosphere is crazy. All the players that were there, I have a lot of good relationships with them now.”

The Wesleyan Christian (N.C.) product is also pegged as a potential candidate to stay at home and play on Tobacco Road, but he insists that he hasn't decided on a location yet.

“I'm not one of those persons, who's stuck in-state and all I want to do is be in-state," Giles said. "If I'm in-state, then it is what it is, because that was my best option. That's not my only goal, to stay in-state.”

The versatile 6-foot-10 power forward is ranked No. 4 in the 247Sports Composite for the class of 2016.

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