Michael Gbinije is a sturdy, physically strong 6’7” two hundred pound Small Forward who, as a high school graduating senior, was ranked as a “Top Thirty” recruit. He was highly rated and received many scholarship offers before he made his final decision to accept a scholarship from Duke University.
Gbinije played his freshman year coming off the bench for legendary “Coach K” and did not do well. He appeared to have difficulty adapting to the college game. His poor play was disappointing and resulted in his loss of significant playing time.
The realization that he might never get a chance to showcase his skills for the Blue Devils prompted the then twenty year old Small Forward (he was born in 1992) to transfer to another college basketball powerhouse, the University of Syracuse.
Head Coach Jim Boeheim welcomed the young player with open arms and gave him lots of playing time in his sophomore year. But, as had been the case at Duke University, Michael Gbinije was still unable to “get his game together.”
In truth, his sophomore year was an abject failure. The Small Forward was a “bench player” averaging just fifteen minutes of playing time per game. His primary role was to replace starting Point Guard Tyler Ennis for short periods of floor time.
In that limited role, Gbinije shot poorly and hit just thirty-six percent of his shots. Coach Boeheim believed that Michael Gbinije was too passive and needed to become much more aggressive in order to elevate his performances. But in his sophomore season, the young basketball player seemed incapable of “stepping up” his game.
His on-court performances showed marked improvement in his junior year in the 2014-2015 Season. The Small forward and substitute Point Guard finally began to blossom and to live up to the high rating he had as a high school senior.
In his junior season, Gbinije scored an average of 20.5 points per game, snared 4.7 rebounds per game, dished out 4.8 assists per game and stole the basketball from an opponent 2.5 times per game. What made Gbinije’s performances even more impressive is the fact that he only committed 1.8 turnovers per game. Yes, his ball control was good, extremely good.
Now, here is what really made professional scouts pay close attention to Michael Gbinije. His shooting percentage from just about everywhere on the floor was an eye-opening fifty-nine percent. And when he took shots from 3-point range, his shot went through the hoop fifty-one percent of the time.
Michael Gbinije took a quantum leap forward in the 2014-2015 Season. It made scouts notice him and think about him as a top tier prospect when he decides to turn professional.
Meanwhile, this developing player, now a senior, will have the upcoming season to prove that last year was no fluke and that he will someday be a star player in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Courtesy of Rant Sports