Wake Forest will have to hit a moving target to land the nation’s most coveted high school basketball player.
Harry Giles, a 6-foot-10 forward from Winston-Salem, announced on his personal Twitter account Wednesday that he will transfer from High Point’s Wesleyan Christian Academy to play his senior season at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.
Giles, ranked the No. 1 prospect in the 2016 class, has narrowed his list of choices to Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas.
“The decision I chose was one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to do, but it’s a decision my family and I thought would be best for me going forward,’’ Giles posted. “My senior year of high school I will be attending Oak Hill Academy.’’
Giles thanked coach Keith Gatlin of Wesleyan Christian Academy and his staff for helping him develop as a person and a player, and said he will miss his teammates, classmates and the school.
The move has been rumored for months, but Giles had declined to comment in various interviews. Oak Hill Academy has long been considered one of the premier programs for high school players.
How Giles’ decision affects Wake Forest’s chances is a prime topic for debate. Coach Danny Manning has set his sights on landing Giles since taking over the Deacons’ program in April 2014, and has been aided in those efforts by assistant coach Randolph Childress.
Childress’ son, Brandon, played with Giles last season at Wesleyan Christian Academy, where the two became good friends. Brandon Childress is a 6-0 guard who has committed to play at Wake Forest after his second season at Wesleyan Christian Academy.
Giles’ father, Harry Giles, Sr., is a resident of Winston-Salem who played football and basketball at Winston-Salem State.
Giles spent part of the summer playing for the USA Basketball 19-under team that won the FIBA World Championship in Greece. Upon his return, he rejoined his AAU team, CP3, sponsored by Chris Paul, a Winston-Salem native who was an All-American for Wake Forest before embarking on a star-studded NBA career.
Giles said he’s also good friends with Josh Howard, another Winston-Salem native and former Deacons star who enjoyed a standout NBA career. Giles said in June that he has talked with Paul and Howard about the basketball tradition of their hometown.
“I’m aware of what they did at Wake Forest and stuff like that, so that helps motivate me to help me get to where I want to get,’’ Giles said. “We want to keep the city up. We’ve got some stars coming out of the ACC. We’re just trying to keep the city on the map.’’
Giles is expected to make his decision in October or November, just before the high school season begins.
The Winston-Salem Journal is a news partner of the Observer. For more Wake Forest coverage, go to http://www.journalnow.com/sports/wfu/