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We finally got a glimpse of the real Harry Giles III, but will it last?

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BROOKLYN — In practice, it comes in spurts.

Behind closed doors, Harry Giles III, who was the best high school basketball player in his class before dealing with a pair of devastating knee injuries and a third surgery just this past September, show flashes of being the player that he was. But it isn’t consistent, and it hasn’t translating to gameday.

Giles, who one veteran scout told ESPN was the best prospect he’d ever seen as a freshman prior to his first torn ACL, has been anything but for the Blue Devils this season.

But on Friday night, as the Blue Devils squared off with arch-rival North Carolina in the semifinals of the ACC tournament, we all saw it. In a pivotal stretch during a nationally-televised game in the throes of March, Giles put together the three best possessions that he’s played to date. It started with a block, one of four that Giles had on the night, that turned into an alley-oop at the other end of the court after he sprinted to beat Tony Bradley down the floor. Back at the defensive end, Giles batted away an entry pass and dove on the floor to create a turnover, which led to a Duke bucket at the other end of the floor. On the very next possession, he grabbed a defensive rebound in the middle of UNC’s pair of dominant big men — Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks — and by the time it was all said and done, the Blue Devils had a 77-70 lead that UNC would never recover from.

The Blue Devils would go on to win 93-83 after trailing by 13 in the second half.

“One of the big reasons we won today is because of that incredible stretch he had,” Jayson Tatum. “It’s all effort. That’s what we needed today. I have the utmost faith in him that he’ll do that the rest of the way. ”

Tatum knows everything that Giles has been through. Not just this season, but since the injuries started. Tatum and Giles are best friends. They planned this season together at Duke. It’s not a mistake that they are on the same team in college, which means that Tatum knows better than just about anyone what Giles has dealt with in his short career. It also makes seeing Giles finally have his break-through just that much better.

“We have the utmost confidence him, especially I do,” Tatum said. “But I think for him it’s just believing in himself that he can do that. Mentally, it’s tough for him.”

“Confidence, mental things,” Giles said of why it’s taken him this long to come back around. “A lot of it is mental. My body is good.”

The Duke staff had just about given up on seeing this from Giles. They haven’t quit working with him, and they haven’t stopped hoping that the star is in there somewhere, but they had reached the point where they had just about accepted the fact that Giles was simply going to be a fill-in, a guy who are the minutes that Amile Jefferson couldn’t play, whether it be a result of fouls, fatigue or injury.

They weren’t expecting this, a performance that isn’t done justice by a stat-line of six points, seven boards and four blocks.

For Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the issue wasn’t just Giles’ confidence. It was how he was playing.

“You’re the most enthusiastic kid I’ve ever been around, and you’re not bringing your enthusiasm,” Coach K said. “That was never hurt. But I think you’re not using it. Just be enthusiastic and see what happens, and I think he’s done that. Instead of being methodical and trying to think about everything, he’s been more athletic.”

Part of it was an adjustment to a new role, one where Giles is coming off the bench and playing 15 minutes instead of starting and starring. Grayson Allen has helped him with that.

“You might feel like a role player, but you’re not,” Allen recalled telling Giles. “You’re extremely talented, and when you get out there, act like it. Don’t be shy. Don’t be trying to play into a role. Do what you can do.”

“Put in 40 minutes of effort in 15 minutes,” Giles said.

How this turns out is unclear.

At the end of the day, Giles played just 15 minutes and was truly dominant for just three possessions in those 15 minutes.

Was this a change in the player or a blip on the radar?

The answer to that question may very well determine Duke’s ceiling.

“I hope,” Tatum said, “we haven’t reached our ceiling yet.”

Buffalo sophomore arrested, charged with strangulation, witness intimidation

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Buffalo sophomore Quate McKinzie is facing a litany of charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly attempted to strangle a female acquaintance.

McKinzie, who is 20 years old, was later handed more charges after he made threatening phone calls to his accuser from jail.
From the Buffalo News:

The original charges placed against the UB sophomore were second-degree strangulation, a D-felony; misdemeanor counts of criminal obstruction of breathing, assault, menacing, harassment; and stealing the victim’s vehicle.

The latest charges are third-degree witness intimidation and first-degree criminal contempt, both E-felonies; and two misdemeanors, aggravated harassment and disobeying a court mandate, according to Tonawanda Police Patrol Capt. Fredric Foels.

“University Athletics is aware of the alleged incident and is in communication with university and local authorities,” Buffalo released in a statement. “Quate McKinzie is currently enrolled at the University at Buffalo and is suspended indefinitely from the university’s basketball team. Due to the ongoing investigation and federal protections on student information, we will have no further comment on the matter at this time.”

McKinzie is a 6-foot-8, 195 pound forward that played in 17 games last season. He averaged 3.9 points and 4.3 boards.

Auburn’s Austin Wiley suffers stress fracture

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Auburn center Austin Wiley has a stress fracture in his left leg and will be out 4-6 weeks, the school announced Monday.

No surgery is required, but Wiley, who played with Team USA’s U19 team in Egypt earlier this month, will miss Auburn’s trip to Italy.

“You know how tough and committed a young man is when he plays through the pain of a stress fracture,” said Pearl. “He was receiving treatment while in Egypt, but had no way of knowing the extent of his injury. Doctors say it is in a good spot for healing, and he will be fine.”

Wiley averaged 8.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 18.1 minutes this past season. He started 21 of the Tigers’ 22 games after he enrolled in school midseason.

Virginia Tech loses key shooter to torn ACL

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Virginia Tech suffered a brutal blow earlier this month when Ty Outlaw went down with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Outlaw is one of the best shooters on Virginia Tech’s roster, banging home 48 percent of his three-balls last season, and he was expected to be a major part of the rotation following a season where he scored in double-figures in six of the last eight games, including four games of better than 16 points in that stretch.

This is a blow to Virginia Tech’s depth, but it is also a tough break for Outlaw, who transferred to Virginia Tech from a Junior College and had to sit out the 2015-16 season due to a heart issue. The redshirt senior will likely be eligible to receive a medical redshirt should he decide to apply for one.

Report: Miller brothers schedule Indiana-Arizona series

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The Miller family does not appear to be worried about sibling rivalry.

According to a report from FanRag Sports, Archie, the head coach at Indiana, and Sean, the head coach at Arizona, have agreed to a three-year deal to have the two programs face-off against each other. They’ll start in 2019-20, playing in Arizona, then face-off in Bloomington the following season before finally heading up to Madison Square Garden in 2021-22.

If you can get past the fact that we are now scheduling games for 2022 (!!!), this is actually going to be a pretty neat and unique thing. How often do two brothers end up coaching at the Division I level? The Drew brothers — Bryce at Vanderbilt and Scott at Baylor — are one pair, but they cancelled a series that would have seen the two programs square off last season. James and Joe Jones at Yale and Boston University are another pair. They were league rivals for eight yeas when Joe was the head coach at Columbia. When Sean Sutton was the head coach at Oklahoma State, his brother, Scott, beat them was the head coach at Oral Roberts.

So it’s not typical for this to happen, mainly because it’s not easy to compete at something so important against someone you care about so much.

Think about it.

Imagine working in a profession where your success comes at the expense of your brother? It’s one of the major reasons — beyond the obvious — that no one believed Sean Miller would actually consider taking the Ohio State job when it opened. Facing off against your brother in a non-conference game you choose to play is one thing. Competing for league titles against him for the foreseeable future is something totally different.

Which is a long way of saying that this should be an enticing matchup, however it plays out.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)