Notre Dame Basketball

Joe Girard III Is A Little Different

April 12, 2018

Some of the comparisons are natural and understandable.

Jimmer Fredette was the last record-setting guard at New York’s Glens Falls High School.

Greg Paulus was the last New York student-athlete to be named State Player of the Year in both basketball and football.

Some of the other comparisons are more superficial, but unfortunately, also understandable.

“People say, ‘Who does he play like?’ and everybody always names 10 white guys in a row,” says Jim Hart, Director of New York’s City Rocks AAU basketball program.

Hart believes he has a much better comparison for 2019 guard Joe Girard III.

“I think he plays more like Trae Young,” says Hart, referring to the guard who earned Consensus First-Team All-American honors in his only season at Oklahoma before declaring for this June’s NBA Draft.

“Putting pressure on the D and pulling up from anywhere.”

Girard averaged 50 points a game for Glens Falls this past season and already holds the state record for most career points despite having another full season to play. Hart points to Girard’s shiftiness and an “unbelievably quick release.”

“If you’re a threat to shoot from really deep, it draws the defenses farther out on you,” Hart adds. “Some people you’re picking up at 19-9, some you’re picking up at 23. People are picking up Joe and the Trae Youngs of the world at 35 feet. If you’re picking someone up at 35 feet who has a good handle, he could get by you.”

This past season, Girard drained 179 three-pointers and 181 twos while shooting over 90 percent from the free throw line, making 250 and missing just 25.

“He gets to the line a lot,” Hart says. “The standstill shooters like J.J. Redick don’t get to the line a ton. That just shows you he’s a little different. He can facilitate, he can see the floor too. If you slump off your man to help on his drive, he’ll pass it.”

But it’s the blend of those physical skills and his attitude that truly makes Girard special, according to Hart.

“There are plenty of kids who can shoot the ball all over the country, plenty of kids with good handle who can get good separation, he just has it up between the ears,” Hart says. “His mind is different. He has an absolute killer mentality. He’s always pushing himself.

“If it’s 30, he’s looking for 40. If it’s 40, he’s looking for 50. If it’s taking two charges, he’s looking for three charges. Stops, he’s looking for more.”

On the football field, Girard has a 24-1 record as Glens Falls’ starting quarterback, which Hart believes says plenty about that mentality.

“When you put all of the pieces together and say this is the Player of the Year in football in the state of New York, it tells you a little something,” he continues. “Remember, Allen Iverson was Player of the Year. He was different, totally different, but it still tells you a little bit about the mindset. For little Allen Iverson to be Player of the Year in football and basketball in Virginia, he was a little bit different between the ears and I think that’s what Joe is.

“He’s got that focus. When you watched a young Tiger Woods, he didn’t get rattled playing against the legends. Joe doesn’t get rattled.”

Hart says that was on display during the past EYBL season, when Girard was surrounded by enough talent that City Rocks wasn’t asking him to pump in 50 a game.

“He was kind of playing a role for us,” says Hart. “There was no star on the team, but he was still top five in threes made, three-point percentage and had some big games. He’s a killer. He just works at every aspect.

"He’s great in the classroom, he works on his speed and strength, works on his basketball skills. He’s a good kid, good family member, good teammate. He’s winning in all areas.”

After recruiting Girard for over a year, last month, Notre Dame finally extended an offer to Girard, who already had offers from schools like Duke, Michigan, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Penn State and St. John’s among several others.

Following the offer, Girard told Irish Sports Daily he understood why there was a delay and that it wouldn’t cause him to view Notre Dame in a negative light.

“I think he is very serious about them,” Hart says of the Irish.

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