NCB On The Trail: Harry Giles

NEW YORK -- The Under Armour Elite 24 game is loaded with ESPN Recruiting Nation ranked players from the classes of 2015, 2016 and 2017 and can be seen at 7 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPNU live from Pier 2 of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Let's take a look at five matchups that we are most excited to see.

POINT GUARDS

ESPN 100 No. 62 Jawun Evans 6-foot, 180 (Dallas, Texas/Justin F. Kimball) vs. ESPN 60 No. 9 Dennis Smith Jr. 6-1, 173 (Fayetteville, N.C./Trinity Christian School): In this all-important lead guard matchup, it will exciting to see who will run their team, push the ball and set the tone. Evans -- a great finisher for his size -- has blinding speed and quickness and can get teammates involved. Smith beats defenders off the bounce with ease and is a playmaker for himself or teammates. He is a highlight finisher on the break who can simply put the defense on its heels and create help situations all over the offensive end of the floor.

If you’ve noticed a sudden rush of recruiting information for 2016 prospects in the last few days, it's no coincidence.

Sunday was the first day that college coaches were permitted to contact prospects in the rising junior class, and for some prospects that literally meant the phone rang when the clock struck midnight.

Often times, those conversations are followed by some sort of offer. Here’s a look at some of the latest news for the Class of 2016:


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With the field expanding from 25 to 60 as the sophomores become juniors, here are 10 things to know about the prospects in the new ESPN 60 for the Class of 2016:

1. Jayson Tatum continues to make his move upward. The talented and skilled 6-foot-7 small forward has great feel and is a high-level playmaker with size and basketball intelligence. The St. Louis Chaminade College Prep standout made another slight jump within the top five, going from No. 4 to No. 3.

2. The rim-protecting dominance of center Udoka Azubuike has continued. A strong and physical low-post presence, the Jacksonville (Fla.) Potter's House Christian standout rebounds, finishes and blocks shots with power and has been rewarded by moving inside the top 10 at No. 6.

[+] EnlargeTerrance Ferguson
Kelly KlineTerrance Ferguson of Prime Prep Academy is a standout shooter in the ESPN 60.
3. There are some big-time wing scorers in the Class of 2016. These bucket-getters attack defenders and are difficult to deal with when they have the ball in their hands. Shooting guards Malik Monk and Josh Langford, small forwards Mario Kegler and V.J. King and SG Tyus Battle lead the top 20 players.

4. Shooting guard Terrance Ferguson has the sweetest shooting stroke in the top 10. Ferguson has a high release and excellent follow-through. He loves the corner jumper from behind the arc and shoots over smaller defenders as if they are invisible.

5. Combination forward Miles Bridges and point guard Dennis Smith are fresh faces in the top 10 because of their consistent production. A few dominant performances this spring on the travel circuit clearly separated them from their peers.

6. Point guard Jaylen Fisher has special court vision. The Arlington (Tenn.) Bolton standout puts the ball on time and on target and attacks the defense with his ability to penetrate. Fisher not only finds the open man but also delivers the ball in position to score on the catch.

7. Harry Giles made his debut this spring after suffering a knee injury that required surgery. The 6-9 Giles, from Winston-Salem (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian, is still rounding into form, but we did see flashes of his game before the injury from this talented power forward. He has all the tools to be a special player with terrific upside.

8. There's a lot of variety and versatility in the 2016 class. Many players can play and excel at two positions, both in the post and on the perimeter. A few examples are Bridges, Omari Spellman, Amir Coffey, Vance Jackson and Kobi Jordan-Simmons.

9. With only 10 true point guards in the ESPN 60, it is definitely a situation of quality over quantity. These point guards may be small in numbers, but all are very good players who will lead and make winning plays for their team. Newcomer Smith leads the way. Lonzo Ball, De'Aaron Fox, Trent Forrest, Derryck Thornton, Devearl Ramsey, Payton Pritchard, Xavier Simpson, Cassius Winston and Howard Washington all have had standout springs.

10. In comparison, the 2016 ESPN 60 will be better than the 2015 ESPN 60.

EYBL Session III recap 

May, 19, 2014
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HAMPTON, Va. -- The third installment of the 2014 Nike EYBL came to the Boo Williams Sports Complex this weekend. Here’s a look at some of the major storylines:


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The Class of 2015 is in its early stages of development as new prospects are being recognized weekly and more established prospects are working to keep their reputations intact. May is a time to evaluate and analyze the nation's best. We will update our rankings in June after we get a thorough evaluation and find the emerging talent in this class.

With six months to go before the early signing period here is an early preview of the Class of 2015:


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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

Now that the Blue Devils have secured a commitment from ESPN 60 shooting guard Luke Kennard, their focus in the 2015 class will be on landing some size to blend in with their strong perimeter talent.

Jahlil Okafor could certainly be on his way to the NBA draft after next season, and that would just leave Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee in the post for Duke.

Besides Chase Jeter, other top 2015 frontcourt targets include ESPN 60 No. 1 recruit Ivan Rabb, Diamond Stone and Skal Labissiere.

That group of players possesses the size, rebounding, shot blocking and scoring Duke needs inside.

The Blue Devils are also still in the running for ESPN 100 center Myles Turner, the No. 2 prospect in the 2014 class. Turner will make his college decision sometime in the late signing period this spring.

And as we look down the road at the Class of 2016, Duke's priorities are in-state prospect Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum from Missouri.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff are landing some of the nation's premier talent in hopes of keeping Duke in contention in the powerful ACC.

#AskCoachB: Sweet '16

March, 4, 2014
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

From @BrotherQC on Twitter: @PaulBiancardi How high are you on the 2016 class of talent? Looks promising so far. #AskcoachB

I am extremely high on the Class of 2016. They are years away from maturity and development, but this group has some stars-in-the-making who are starting to blossom.

Thon Maker (Martinsville, Va./Carlisle School), ranked No. 1 in the ESPN 25 for the sophomore class, is a shot blocker who is unique as a 7-footer with tremendous skill-to-size ratio. No. 2 Josh Jackson (Southfield, Mich./Consortium College Prep) could be the best player in the state of Michigan already. No. 4 Jayson Tatum (St. Louis/Chaminade College Prep) is picking up traction as not only an elite player in his class, but in the high school game.

When No. 3 Harry Giles (Winston-Salem, N.C./Wesleyan Christian) returns from a knee injury, he will be in the conversation for the No. 1 spot, which he held at one time.

Another name to keep an eye on is No. 6 V.J. King (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary), who has very good ball skills. No. 5 Dedric Lawson (Memphis, Tenn./Hamilton) has a smooth stroke and great size as a scorer.

At similar points, the Class of 2016 is stronger at the top than the 2014 and 2015 classes.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.
Giles is the No. 3 player in ESPN 25 in the Class of 2016. Giles tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus last June while playing for USA Basketball in Uruguay.

When I spoke with him in January at the Hoop Hall Classic, he said his rehab is coming along nicely.

For him to get back on the court, it will come in stages. He has been doing some straight line movements and plenty of work in the pool and on the bike. Along with that is some light stationary shooting and then shooting and ball-handling with movement.

He is optimistic he will be on the court when spring comes around and can play at full speed and compete. He will play his AAU basketball for @CP3 (Chris Paul).

“Rehab is going well,” Giles said. “I started doing light floaters last week and jump hooks a little bit. I should start jogging soon. I’m around 10 degrees from my full range of motion.”

10 things to know about the 2016 class 

January, 28, 2014
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The updated ESPN 25 for the Class of 2016 is again led by center Thon Maker (Martinsville, Va./Carlisle School), who is the top prospect. Three prospects have joined the rankings: Center Udoka Azubuike (Jacksonville, Fla./Potters House Christian), point guard Derryck Thornton (Chatsworth, Calif./Findlay Prep) and small forward T.J. Leaf (El Cajon, Calif./Foothills Christian), and many of the returning players have continued to improve their games which ultimately makes the 2016 class better as a whole.

Here are 10 things to know about the prospects in the Class of 2016:


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2016 PF Giles talks rehab, recruiting 

November, 26, 2013
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Harry Giles (Winston-Salem, N.C./Wesleyan Christian Academy), the No. 3 prospect in the 2016 ESPN 25, remains in good spirits following a June injury while playing for USA Basketball’s U16 team in Uruguay that will sideline him this season.

Giles tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus.

“Rehab is going well,” Giles said. “I started doing light floaters last week and jump hooks a little bit. I should start jogging soon. I’m around 10 degrees from my full range of motion.”

With rehab on schedule and the range of motion in his knee returning with each passing week, the big decision facing Giles and his family will be when he returns to the court.


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Five names to know in ESPN 25 

September, 24, 2013
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The Class of 2016 has a real chance to be one of the best classes in the last decade because of the sheer number of high-impact prospects. There are players in this group who are game-changers now and who have barely scratched the surface of their potential. Here's a look at five members of the latest ESPN 25 who performed well against older competition this summer.

Thon Maker (Carlisle School/Martinsville, Va.)

Maker has a chance to be really special because of his rare combination of enormous height (7-feet), length and advanced skill. He handles the ball and shoots it with finesse, and on the other end, he rebounds above the crowd and blocks shots at an elite level. Maker has a Kevin Garnett-like body and better skills at the same stage but his heart and toughness are yet to be determined. How his body fills out and how he continues to approach the game will determine how far he goes. He played on the 17-and-under EYBL circuit and performed extremely well.


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Ten things to know about 2016 ESPN 25 

September, 24, 2013
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The Class of 2016 is led by the super-talented trio of C Thon Maker, SF Josh Jackson and PF Harry Giles, giving this group an opportunity to be versatile and deep at a variety of positions.

Here are 10 things to know about the ESPN 25 Class of 2016, a small number of prospects who possess big-time potential.

1. Serious upside
The Class of 2016 first and foremost could be better than the Classes of 2014 and 2015. The early report card is tremendous not only for the top 25, but from reports coming in from around the country about players who have yet to be evaluated and added to the rankings when they are extended to 60 then 100. The overall talent and depth and the number of potential NBA players could be the difference.


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Elite 24 player breakdowns

August, 22, 2013
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Chris McCulloughDustin Snipes/Icon SMISyracuse forward commit Chris McCullough is looking to put his athleticism and skillset on display this weekend at the Under Armour Elite 24 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Breakdowns of the key prospect competing at Under Armour Elite 24 showcase. The 2013 Under Armour Elite 24 will be held at the Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Friday and Saturday. The game airs live on ESPNU at 7 p.m. ET Saturday, while the Slam Dunk Contest and Skills Competition will air Friday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

2014

Tyus Jones
Point Guard
Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley
6-foot-2, 180 pounds
College: Undeclared

Jones is a true point guard that pushes the pace, runs his team and makes great decisions off the ball screen in addition to being an excellent finisher for his size. He has an an all-business approach and is a winner.

NBA Comparisons: Tony Parker/Ray McCallum/John Stockton

Emmanuel Mudiay
Point Guard
Dallas/Prime Prep
6-5, 198
College: Undeclared

Mudiay is a scoring point guard with great size and athletic ability that plays in full-attack mode and can also facilitate. He can take over the game offensively at times and is great at making plays at end-of-clock situations.

NBA Comparison: Tyreke Evans

Chris McCullough
Power Forward
Bronx, N.Y./Brewster Academy
6-9, 210
College: Syracuse

McCullough is a extra-long athletic forward that excels on the break and finishes above the rim on all clear paths. He rebounds and blocks shots to go along with being a capable multiple-position lockdown defender as well with great upside.

NBA Comparison: Taj Gibson

Justin Jackson
Small Forward
Tomball, Texas/Homeschool Christian Youth Association
6-8, 190
College: North Carolina

Jackson is a long and lean wing with a great feel for the game and a sweet shooting stroke and floater that is money from deep in the lane and along the baseline. Capable of scoring big numbers with a scoring package that extends to the arc.

NBA Comparisons: Jeremy Lamb/Tayshaun Prince/Reggie Miller

Myles Turner
Center
Bedford, Texas/Euless Trinity
6-11, 225
College: Undeclared

Turner is a post that is long with a great motor. He has an advanced face-up game with range to the arc. He can also put it on the floor and pass with accuracy in addition to being an elite shot blocker with off-the-charts upside.

NBA Comparisons: Anthony Davis/LaMarcus Aldridge/ Tim Duncan/Theo Ratliff

Rashad Vaughn
Shooting Guard
Golden Valley, Minn./Findlay Prep
6-6, 206
College: Undeclared

Vaughn is an attacking wing that excels on the break and can make scoring plays off the bounce in a variety of ways He is a tough matchup at the shooting guard position because he has range out to the arc and is relentless at attempting to make high-level scoring plays.

NBA Comparisons: Jamal Crawford/Jerry Stackhouse

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Top 10 lessons learned in July 

July, 31, 2013
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To understand what just happened in college basketball recruiting, let me use a golf analogy. In golf majors, Saturdays set the players up for the final round and determine the pairings for the homestretch.

In college basketball, the month of July is like that Saturday of a golf major. Coaches fly coast to coast, some to evaluate and others simply to babysit prospects. It’s a grueling 15 days on the road -- separated into three different five-day open evaluation periods -- and even the seasoned veterans will tell you that. Technology has made it easier to keep track of the recruits, but travel is travel, and so much time in different cities is rough on the bodies of the players and coaches.

Still, July remains the single most important month on the recruiting calendar. It sets the tone for in-home and official visits. It helps set up the final round and determines the pairings for the homestretch.

For the better part of July 6-28, I was on the road. Every day was something new and an opportunity to gather intelligence on players and pay attention to the world of college basketball recruiting. If you didn’t learn something daily, you weren’t doing your job.

Here are 10 key things I learned this month on the recruiting trail, from package deals to the loaded 2016 class and everything in between.

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Top 10 things from the first half of July 

July, 17, 2013
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The first half of a July on the recruiting trail was more of a sprint than anything else. July 6-14 was a convergence of talent and time zones. From Las Vegas to North Augusta, S.C., to Indianapolis, I felt like I was in a new city daily with waves of players being tossed at me.

After having a chance to get my bearings, here are 10 things that stood out from the cross-country travel assignment. This entails info not only from the Nike Peach Jam and adidas Invitational during the first open evaluation period (July 10-14) but also from the LeBron James Skills Academy (July 6-8) before the live period began. The second half of July includes two more open eval periods July 17-21 and 24-28.

1. White was on the verge of elevating his game

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