In this Boeheim’s Army 2019 Player Series we will feature the members of this year’s TBT (The Basketball Tournament) squad, and what’s happened since we saw them last. Up next: Michael Gbinije.
Boeheim's Army: Michael Gbinije
Guard/Forward, Syracuse Career: 2013-2016
Boeheim’s Army is back and has a heck of a team this year prepared to compete in the 2019 edition of TBT (The Basketball Tournament). They brought in some new blood this summer, and it includes a player not many SU fans will soon forget. His name: Michael Gbinije, aka ‘Silent G’
Gbinije wasn’t the normal four-year SU grad, but his three years hereafter playing one season at Duke made him a household name in these parts. Gbinije came with a lot of talent. Recruited highly out of high school, Gbinije was a good shooter from inside and out and had the height of a forward but dribbled like a guard. As such, Coach Jim Boeheim often played him at forward as well as guard.
In his first two years, he was mostly a role player, plugging in wherever Coach Boeheim needed him. However, by his senior season and due to scholarship reductions on the team, he was pretty much forced to play point guard for Syracuse as its unquestioned leader.
As it turned out, he would thrive in the role, even though he was playing way out of position. His ability to play just about any position though throughout his SU career made him invaluable.
For his Syracuse basketball career, he ended up with respectable numbers: 11.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.5 steals per game, according to Sports-Reference.com. Those numbers don’t really show how good he was by his senior season.
As a senior, he averaged 17.5 points, 4.3 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game. Those averages were enough to get him drafted with the 49th selection in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft, according to Orangehoops.org.
After a brief stint in the NBA, Gbinije has played pro basketball in the G-League. Last season, he played for the Santa Cruz Warriors averaging 7.2 points, three rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game, according to Syracuse.com.
Now, back in Syracuse and playing for Boeheim’s Army, we can expect him to once again play multiple positions. Sure, he seems to play best with the ball in his hands at the point but we can also expect to him to play off the ball in this tournament with so many great ball handlers on the team already.
Standing at 6-foot-7, he can play small forward with ease and his ability to hit inside and outside shots makes him a huge asset on a team that likes to get out and run the fast break after a turnover occurs out of the 2-3 zone.
Not only will he be valuable on offense, but his on-ball defense is pretty good. If the Orange need a good defender to play against a point guard, count Gbinije as the one who will take the task. He has long arms, can block layups from behind, but can also cause sneaky steals out of the zone as well.
Regardless what his role is, Gbinije is a player Coach Ryan Blackwell can use anywhere on the court. His flexibility and willingness to do whatever he can for the team makes him one of the most intriguing options on this years team. Though he may not start, you can expect him to have a pretty decent role off the bench for this year’s squad.