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Originally published Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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UW Men's Basketball | Giles hasn't been Oregon State savior

C.J. Giles was the wild card for the Oregon State Beavers this season, the player Beavers coach Jay John hoped would make the season and...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Today

Beavers @ Huskies, 3 p.m., FSN

C.J. Giles was the wild card for the Oregon State Beavers this season, the player Beavers coach Jay John hoped would make the season and, in the process, maybe save John's job.

But as the Beavers come to Seattle today, it's a gamble that has so far turned up only losing hands, with the result that John could soon be cashed out.

In fact, today's 3 p.m. tipoff at Edmundson Pavilion is rumored to be the last for John, who is 72-96 in six seasons as OSU's coach.

Oregonian columnist John Canzano was given rare locker-room access to John's team before, during and after a 69-46 loss at Washington State on Thursday and wrote, "I don't expect [John] will make another week with the Beavers."

Giles, a former Rainier Beach High player, won't be the reason John is fired, if it comes to that — the coach has had just one winning season overall and his best Pac-10 record is 8-10.

But Giles has found the savior's role a tough one to play after transferring to Oregon State last year from Kansas, where he was kicked off the team after several legal run-ins, the last a misdemeanor battery charge after he was accused of dragging a woman by her feet and hitting her.

Expected to be the low-post scoring threat OSU hasn't had in years, Giles has instead become more noted for his inability to stay in games — he has fouled out of five of the nine he has played — and is averaging just 6.7 points and 5.8 rebounds, numbers similar to his last season at Kansas. Giles this week said the problem is that Pac-10 officials call games tighter than in the Big 12.

"The Big 12 has guys who let a lot of little bumps go, as opposed to the Pac-10," he said.

The upshot is that he has made little impact; the Beavers, 6-11 overall, are 2-7 in games Giles has played, 0-5 in Pac-10 contests.

"We all know C.J. is very talented," said UW coach Lorenzo Romar. "I think people expected him to come in from day one and be an All-American. But he sat out a year and didn't play, and it wasn't like he was playing 30 minutes a game at Kansas. So it takes a little time sometimes."

After his departure from Kansas, Giles sought out other schools, including Washington, which he had spurned out of high school to initially sign with Miami. He picked Kansas after Hurricanes coach Perry Clark was fired.

But the Huskies — who had avidly pursued him out of high school, and several times thought he would come to Washington — had no desire to try to fit Giles onto an already full roster, leaving Oregon State as his closest option.

"I did ask Romar," Giles said. "I was really, really trying to stay home and play. But at the time, he didn't want me to come. ... I would have loved to have been there and helped, but that's in the past."

Despite wishing he were at UW now, Giles said he doesn't wish now he had become a Husky out of high school.

"I've been through a lot of learning things, so I wouldn't really change nothing of what I've been through," he said. "I don't regret not going there the first time. Maybe the second time, but not the first time."

Still, Giles figures he'll hear all about it today from UW fans: "I already know it's going to be out of the world with me."

Not that he has really been feeling the love in Corvallis, where he was at the center of controversy two weeks ago when he was suspended for a game at Arizona after missing one practice and being late to another. He was later reported to have gotten in a shouting match with an OSU assistant during practice.

Giles insisted earlier this week, however, that "everything is fine."

John "just felt like he knows the young guys look up to me," Giles said, "so he just really wants to show an example to the other guys. I do understand that."

Matters apparently didn't go much better in Pullman, however, as Canzano's column referred to John "calling out" Giles before the game and Giles refusing a handshake from John after the game.

All the turmoil makes it hard for the Huskies to know what to expect today as they attempt to get their first Pac-10 sweep of the year. UW played maybe its best game of the season in beating Oregon 78-70 Thursday. But UW has often struggled against OSU's more deliberate pace, including a 73-65 defeat Feb. 24 in Corvallis, the Beavers' last Pac-10 win.

Romar said the Huskies have to play the same way they did against Oregon.

"That's the challenge for us," he said.

Giles and the Beavers, meanwhile, will have more than enough of their own.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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