Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityAs a new season gets underway, the legend of Joe Girard III grows | WSTM
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As a new season gets underway, the legend of Joe Girard III grows

Joe Girard III is ready for his sophomore season in Orange.{p}{/p}
Joe Girard III is ready for his sophomore season in Orange.

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Syracuse Basketball fans first started to hear about Joe Girard III years ago as he was leading neighboring Glens Falls High School by averaging 50 points per game.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Girard III would later commit to Syracuse and Head Coach Jim Boeheim. Early in 2019 as he was mere weeks from winning a New York State and Federation title he told me clearly what his goals were for his upcoming Orange career.

"Coach McNamara won it (a national title) and I want to win multiple" he told me in 2019.

"Just want them to think about a winner and competitor, that's all I'm looking forward to doing in Syracuse" is what Joe said about years down the road how he hopes to remembered by Orange fans.

Before we get there, Joe has at least three years of eligibility if he wants them.

As a freshman, he burst onto the scene grabbing the starting point guard spot just a few games into the new campaign. This included a 22 point outburst against Seattle as his first sign of that promise. He showed his leadership when star player Elijah Hughes couldn't play against NC State.

Girard erupted that game for 30 points.

This year, Hughes is in the NBA. There's no replacing a player like that but Girard hopes that he can help fill the void with his leadership ability.

"Any team I've gone on I've always tried to be a leader. In high school, I was captain of my team as a freshman" said Girard recently.

It's a leadership that goes beyond basketball in this incredibly unique season. As the coronavirus pandemic rages, Syracuse opens the season against Bryant, something that Orange fans need but also something fragile as cases of the virus continue to rise.

"The world right now is about getting better, whether that's on or off the court. You have to have a positive attitude and I think that's the biggest thing, mindset in today's world. When you're on the court you want to make sure you're having fun knowing that it can all be taken away" Joe says of what this season means to him.

"Local people don't have much to watch right now, hopefully when we get back on the floor it's going to be uplifting for everyone, i know it will be uplifting for us."

Uplifting in so many ways.

It goes without saying that the sports shutdown in March through the return of Major League Baseball, the NHL and NBA this summer was difficult. It reminded sports fans just how important games are for mental health. Obviously, there are more important things in this world, fighting the pandemic being paramount at the moment, but the college basketball season and return of the Syracuse Orange is a welcomed distraction and slice of normal as Onondaga County and Central New York endures record-setting case days and limited shutdowns.

Uplifting also, because this year's Orange team has potential. We could be rooting for them well into March and the NCAA Tournament

"There's going to be a lot of emotions going into it, right now just thinking about it I get really excited .It's crazy to think about that we'll be playing really soon. I'm excited for it, the rest of the guys are excited the whole program is excited. so we can't wait. Hopefully we think it's going to be a really good year and we can't wait."

An excitement that hits a whole new level at 3:00 p.m.

Syracuse returned to practice from a shutdown of nearly two weeks on Thanksgiving and when you hear what Girard is saying about his approach, his teammates and the meaning of what they love it's clear.

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The legend of Joe Girard III continues to grow and will light up a region in need through a difficult winter.

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