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With Michigan & Duke aiming higher, does it help Syracuse recruit Joe Girard?

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A deeper dive into Joe Girard’s recruitment.

With the 2018-19 Syracuse Orange men’s basketball roster likely set, many have begun to look toward what could be a huge 2019 basketball recruiting class. Syracuse survived a four-year lull filled with NCAA sanctions and uncertainty while mixing in a Final Four and Sweet 16 run in the process. Now the program is on the up and up and the focus begins to shift toward the future.

Brycen Goodine is already locked in for the 2019 class and moved up to No. 64 on the ESPN top 100 after balling for BABC on the circuit this summer. A potential backcourt mate of Goodine is Joe Girard, who slid into the No. 89 slot over at ESPN.

We spoke to Girard last month, who broke down what he’s looking for in a college program.

“It’s just about where you’re going to play so you can showcase your talent, where you’re going to fit in with the teams so you can jell together and be able to show what you can do with other great players,” Girard said. “You gotta find the place where you can show out and win at the same time.”

Girard noted that professional basketball is the eventual goal, so the name of the game is to pick a school that will have a high degree of exposure while also getting playing time.

Perceived to the favorites to land Girard are Duke, Michigan and Syracuse while Notre Dame, Penn State and Boston College are also in the mix. For what it’s worth, 247 Sports now has Syracuse as the favorite at 53 percent and Duke just behind at 27 percent.

Michigan has one sophomore and two freshmen guards who saw playing time on last season’s Final Four squad in Zavier Simpson, Jordan Poole and Eli Brooks. Charles Matthews could theoretically be a senior when Girard is a freshman if he doesn’t leave for the NBA (tested waters this summer). Plus, Michigan will add two more guards from the 2018 class in David DeJulius and Adrien Nunez, the latter of which is probably an absolute magician.

In the 2019 class, the Michigan coaching staff has an offers out to shooting guard Rocket Watts and DJ Carton — both of which are ranked higher than Girard. Of 247 Sports’ 12 predictions on Carton (Ranked No. 20 in the class), all of them agree that he’s headed to Michigan.

It’s hard to say how recruits view John Beilein’s offseason move of vying for the Detroit Pistons job, but if a kid thinks of himself as a one-and-done talent that probably won’t matter much.

Michigan v Syracuse Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Duke’s roster will undergo a near complete overhaul as its top five scorers are gone from last year. The Blue Devils will return guards Alex O’Connell and Jordan Goldwire and bring in Tre Jones who will likely depart for the NBA after just one year. That’s where the guard situation gets a bit murky for Duke.

On top of Girard, Duke has offers out to Cole Anthony, Josiah James and Bryan Antoine in the 2019 class and offers out to Nico Mannion and RJ Hampton in the 2020 class. That’s a ton of potential elite talent that could find its way to Cameron Indoor which would likely mean playing time over Girard.

North Carolina v Duke Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The guard situation at Syracuse is less murky, but a crowded backcourt could also await should Girard stay in state. The Orange will lose Frank Howard after this year and almost assuredly Tyus Battle. Beyond that, Syracuse is still deep at guard with Howard Washington, Jalen Carey, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes and the aforementioned Goodine. It’s likely that Girard wouldn’t get major minutes right away with all those guys in the fold.

That said, he could still surprise by picking from Notre Dame, Boston College or Penn State. Staying in the ACC would make sense and he does fit the mold of a Mike Brey player.

Girard is a cerebral kid who will make an informed decision on where to attend college. He’s down competing in Peach Jam now, will finish out the summer and is expected to make a decision before his senior basketball season begins.