Notebook: Super 60 Showdown

Notebook: Super 60 Showdown

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – He didn't play, but Harry Giles was still the most popular face at the inaugural Super 60 Showdown on Saturday.

One of two events aiming to fill the void left by the absence of the Dave Telep Carolina Challenge, the Showdown featured some of the state's top underclassmen.

Giles, Scout's No. 1 player in the class of 2016, was at the event as a spectator to cheer on AAU teammates and friends from across North Carolina.

"This is my city and I had to come out and support everybody," he said. "There's some great talent in the state so I wanted to see it for myself."

While there's still not a specific date set, Giles feels he's close to returning to the court after sitting out nearly 10 months following knee surgery.

"I'm hitting rehab hard still and just pushing myself, getting shots up and working," he said. "I can cut and I'm just trying to get my trust back. That's what my trainer always says, ‘you have to trust your knee.

Giles's CP3 17U team starts its season on April 25. The leadership role, which had been held by 2014 UNC signee Theo Pinson, will fall on Giles. It's something he doesn't just accept, it's something he relishes.

"I've been watching 17s on the circuit for a couple of years," Giles explained. "All the coaches come to see 17s and that's who all the fans watch. I'm looking forward to it. It'll be a good experience to take leadership of the program. With all the big-time players who have been here, now I get to leave my mark on it."

Over the past few months, Giles has been recruiting players to CP3. He helped the team land Brandon Ingram, a 2015 forward with a UNC scholarship offer (Ingram, as well as 2016 UNC target Edrice Adebayo, were listed on the Showdown roster but did not attend). It gives his squad North Carolina's top-rated players in the sophomore and junior classes.

"Every kid wants to play on the EYBL," Giles said. "He played in a different league last year. I kept hearing about him and we're pretty cool. I know we can play well together. We have similar colleges too, it wouldn't be bad playing with him during AAU too because you never know."

A criticism of Giles, who has scholarship offers from Kentucky, Duke, UNC, Ohio State, Kansas, Georgetown, N.C. State and Maryland, is his insistence on playing this summer. It's a criticism he doesn't understand.

"Why not?" he said. "Instead of sitting around all summer working out, you can compete with the best. You can travel, take trips and see things you wouldn't on a normal basis when you're just at home working out. I want to show people that I haven't fallen off; that I'm not a step slower. I just want to come back better than I was and make more noise than I did before."

Giles has been busy in the past few months, taking in multiple games at Duke, UNC and Wake Forest. The visits have continued to aid him in evaluating each of the schools.

"Coach Williams tells me that I'm the kind of player he knows will be successful," Giles said. "He hasn't really compared me to anyone. It'll be interesting to see what he thinks though. Every program that's recruiting me has good players and most of the time they tell me I can be like their best players."

***

Other prospects on the UNC radar at the Super 60 Showdown were junior Luke Maye and 2016 point guard Dennis Smith Jr.

Maye, a 6-6, 215-pound forward from Charlotte, was among the strongest players at the event. Add in his high-motor and it's easy to see why he's received interest from some ACC schools.

"I've just been trying to get better at everything the last few months," he said. "This high school season I felt like I got a little better at creating my own shot and passed the ball a little better."

This summer, Maye will again be on the EYBL Circuit with Team United.

"We're looking pretty good in practice," he said. "I think we'll be better than we were last year."

Before games started, Maye received the camp's academic award. His 4.5 GPA was the highest of all attendees. His father, Mark Maye, was a quarterback and Morehead scholarship recipient at UNC. The Morehead is something Maye said he is considering, but hasn't yet decided to pursue.

"I've been asked about that and I just haven't gone into depth with it yet very much," he said. "My dad probably wants me to do it and a lot of the teachers at my school think it'd be a good idea for me to do it as well."

Smith excelled in the up-and-down format at the showdown. His athleticism is more impressive with each viewing and he's increased his shooting range. He had the highlight dunks and drove in the lane at will.

He was expected to visit UNC for the second time in recent weeks, but couldn't because of inclement weather. He and his father haven't figured out a date to get back to Chapel Hill. They said they haven't talked to the UNC staff recently.

Among the freshmen in attendance, J.J. Smith, a 6-3 guard from Fayetteville, stood out the most. Smith already has a college-ready body and elite athleticism. He wowed spectators several times with acrobatic layups and blocks, and several highlight-reel dunks.

Though it's early in his high school career, several scouts in attendance said he's likely a high-major, ACC caliber player.

"Smith is a tough, aggressive young athlete," Scout recruiting analyst Rob Harrington said. "He power and speed beyond his years"

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