Harry Giles leaves Duke after 1 year to enter NBA draft

Duke forward Harry Giles (1) pulls down a rebound against North Carolina in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game during the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Friday, March 10, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
Duke forward Harry Giles (1) pulls down a rebound against North Carolina in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game during the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Friday, March 10, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke forward Harry Giles is entering the NBA draft following a freshman season that was slowed due to knee surgery.

Giles announced his decision Tuesday, and team spokesman Cory Walton says he plans to hire an agent. That means Giles won’t have the option to return for his sophomore year.

“Playing in the NBA has been my goal for as long as I can remember, and I’m so excited to take the next step in that journey,” Giles said in a statement issued through the school. “My time at Duke has been a dream come true.”

Giles arrived at Duke as one of the nation’s top recruits despite missing his senior season of high school after tearing ligaments in his right knee, then had preseason arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to remove scar tissue from a previous injury. He missed the first 11 games and made only six starts, averaging 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 58 percent.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski called Giles “a joy to coach” and says he’s “only beginning to scratch the surface of how good he can be.”

He joins Jayson Tatum as one-and-done players from the Duke team that won the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament but lost to South Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Giles becomes the 11th player to enter the NBA draft after his freshman season at Duke. Each of the previous nine were picked in the first round, with eight of those going in the lottery.

His decision came on the same day forward Sean Obi said he would transfer after he graduates at the end of the spring semester. Another backup big man, Chase Jeter, previously said he will transfer to a school closer to his hometown of Las Vegas.

The injury-plagued Obi’s move wasn’t much of a surprise, with Krzyzewski calling it “an anticipated decision.”

Obi didn’t play in any games this season, with all 10 of his appearances with Duke coming in 2015-16. He averaged 2.7 minutes that season.

He’s transferring for the second time in his injury-plagued career. While at Rice in 2013-14, he led Conference USA in rebounding before transferring to Duke and redshirting during its national title season in 2015.

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