Syracuse Basketball: Sorry Andy Katz, but Joe Girard III is a top-15 PG

Andy Katz has listed 15 point guards who could win the Bob Cousy Award in 2020-21, but he omitted Syracuse basketball sophomore Joe Girard III.

As we discussed in a recent column, Syracuse basketball point guard Joe Girard III is primed for a break-out sophomore campaign.

Unfortunately, college basketball insider Andy Katz hasn’t included Girard among his top-15 candidates to capture the Bob Cousy Award in the 2020-21 campaign, and Katz absolutely should have. The Bob Cousy Award, by the way, is doled out annually to the country’s premier point guard at the collegiate level.

In order from No. 1 to No. 15, Katz’s list is Illinois junior Ayo Dosunmu, Baylor junior Jared Butler, Oklahoma State freshman Cade Cunningham, Creighton junior Marcus Zegarowski, Arizona State senior Remy Martin, Kansas senior Marcus Garrett, Villanova senior Collin Gillespie, Rutgers senior Geo Baker, Pepperdine senior Colbey Ross, Richmond senior Jacob Gilyard, Virginia junior Kihei Clark, Colorado senior McKinley Wright IV, Rhode Island senior Fatts Russell, Dayton senior Jalen Crutcher and LSU junior Javonte Smart.

All those guys are excellent players. Gillespie and Clark helped Villanova and Virginia, respectively, to recent NCAA championships. But from my perspective, Girard belongs in the conversation for the Bob Cousy Award. I also found it somewhat surprising that Clark is the only point guard from an Atlantic Coast Conference squad in Katz’s article.

Syracuse basketball sophomore Joe Girard III is a top-15 point guard nationally, although Andy Katz doesn’t seem to agree.

In his freshman term, Girard got thrust into the starting line-up early on in the 2019-20 stanza. While he did struggle a tad with his shooting percentages from the field as a whole, as well as from beyond the arc, Girard put forth a terrific initial campaign.

On the year, he generated averages of 12.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest, which for my money is stellar production for a freshman suiting up for a high-major team that competes in the historically excellent ACC.

Looking ahead to his sophomore season, should Girard improve upon his shooting percentages from 2019-20, he is well-positioned to have a monster term. Girard already shoots at nearly a 90-percent clip from the charity stripe, so we’re good there.

Plus, with a relatively young roster from last year now a term older and more experienced, that should enable Girard and all of his Syracuse basketball colleagues to prove more efficient on both ends of the court.

Additionally, the ‘Cuse has a deep bench with 13 scholarship players in 2020-21, and perhaps that could allow Girard and junior shooting guard Buddy Boeheim to cut down their minutes just a bit. More rest means fresher legs, which is particularly critical when games are close in the waning minutes.

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