It’s been quite a 24 hours for Joe Girard III.
Last night, Girard dropped 54 points in a 91-71 Glens Falls win over Johnstown. This morning, he got a call from John Beilein, who extended a scholarship offer after seeing the performance in person.
“I talked with him this morning and he says he knows I’m good enough to play there,” Girard told UM Hoops.
Girard’s father played for Beilein at LeMoyne College — a connection which has done Michigan well in recruiting the son.
“Since he played for Coach Beilein, he knows what he’s like and how much of a great coach he is, he was almost moved to tears,” Girard said of his dad’s response to the offer. “He was really proud.”
Girard, who stands 6-foot-1 and ranks as a top-20 combo guard in the 2019 class, has made his bones as a shooter. At Nike EYBL last spring, he shot 44.7 percent (55-of-123) from beyond the arc. After Friday, he’s only 39 points away from breaking Lance Stephenson’s all-time New York state scoring record. As a junior.
When asked what he wants people to think when they see that, however, Girard quickly changes the subject.
“I (want) them to know it’s not all about scoring with me, I love to win,” he said. “I go out every game trying to win and the points come along with winning. I couldn’t do any of this without my teammates, coaches, and winning games.
“I make plays for teammates as well. I’m also competitive and do whatever it takes to win. I just love winning.”
It’s the answer you’re supposed to give, but it’s not the answer many in his situation would give.
Girard is far from making his decision. He’s received offers from Boston College, St. John’s, Washington, Middle Tennessee State, and Vermont, among others. Michigan is the biggest program to offer him thus far, but others are hot in pursuit.
Notre Dame, Stanford, and Syracuse have all shown interest in Girard as well. He’s taken unofficial visits to Syracuse and UConn this month, and will be in State College to watch the Nittany Lions play Rutgers tonight.
In addition to a familial connection, however, Beilein can sell a system which has a tendency to elevate sharpshooting guards.
“I play the style of basketball that Michigan guards are known to play,” Girard said. “It helps me understand I’ll fit in.”
That is to say, he can shoot the lights out of the gym.
Two years from now, that gym could be Crisler Center.