DURHAM, N.C.—Duke University junior defenseman JT Giles-Harris has been selected as the 2019 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Defensive Player of the Year in a vote of the league’s five head coaches. Giles-Harris is the third Blue Devil to garner the honor in program history.
An All-ACC pick for the first time in his career in 2019, Giles-Harris joins the likes of CJ Costabile and Brendan Fowler as ACC Defensive Players of the Year. He is the first Duke close defenseman to pick up the award since it was started in 2012.
Giles-Harris has been an instrumental piece to Duke’s defensive success this year, leading the Blue Devils in caused turnovers and ranking third among non-faceoff specialists in ground balls. His 24 caused turnovers in 15 games are two more than he had in 20 games last season, lead the league and are fifth among Blue Devils since it became an official NCAA statistic in 2010. Giles-Harris owns a career-best 32 ground balls as Duke sports the nation’s fourth-ranked defense with a 9.07 goals against average.
A three-year starter, the Nyack, N.Y., native has started all 15 games and along with fellow defenseman Cade Van Raaphorst has shut down the opponents’ top scorers. Only seven times this season has one of the Blue Devils’ opponents top-two scorers surpassed or reached his point scoring average, including holding the nation’s top scoring tandem at the time in Loyola’s attacking duo to only three points.
Giles-Harris, an outstanding cover man, has recorded at least one caused turnover in 12 games in 2019 and has picked up at least one ground ball 14 times. He totaled a career-high four caused turnovers in wins over Jacksonville and Towson and had three versus Richmond and North Carolina. He also scooped up four ground balls versus the Spiders to collect his first ACC Defensive Player of the Week honor. Giles-Harris also collected the weekly award after a standout showing in the regular season win against Notre Dame.
For his career, Giles-Harris has started 52 of the 53 games and picked up 86 ground balls and caused 55 turnovers. Duprey holds the Duke career record with 88 caused turnovers.
Duke (11-4), the No. 2 seed, opens NCAA Tournament play Sunday, May 12 against Richmond. Faceoff versus the Spiders is 5 p.m., at Koskinen Stadium.