Orange assistant coach Gerry McNamara sang the praises of junior guard/forward Michael Gbinije today at Syracuse Men’s Basketball Media Day. Trevor Cooney made a huge leap from his freshman season to his sophomore one last year and McNamara thinks Gbinije will make similar gains in 2014-2015.
“He’s just scratching the surface of his ability,” McNamara said. “He can change the game defensively with his athleticism, he can play the forward position with his size and he can run the point because he’s worked on it. This is a kid I think when it’s all said [and done] we’ll see that big jump.
“I think Michael Gbinije is one of those kids who can make a big, big impact on what we do this season.”
Gbinije can play the one, two or three, but last year for Syracuse he really only filled in for point guard Tyler Ennis. The junior will certainly come in for freshman point guard Kaleb Joseph at times this year, but he should also see significant minutes at small forward. With CJ Fair graduating last spring this position is up for grabs between sophomores Tyler Roberson and BJ Johnson, as well as Gbinije.
“We don’t know right now exactly where his minutes are going to fall, but he will have increased minutes,” Jim Boeheim said. “He’ll benefit the most from guys leaving.”
Last year there was no guarantee at the beginning of the season that Gbinije would have a spot in the Syracuse rotation. He worked his way onto the floor but averaged only 14 minutes per game. This season, he has been promised more playing time and seems ready to perform.
“I’m comfortable playing all positions,” Gbinije said. “I do like having the ball in my hands; I like shooting the ball. Wherever I need to be played or wherever I’m at on the court I’ll be fine. Whatever coach Boeheim wants me to do, I’ll be able to do.”
The coaching staff has big expectations for the Duke transfer and he’s ready to prove a point. Gbinije is one of only three Syracuse players to return to the team after seeing consistent playing time last season. He now must show the coaches that he can handle his new role with this team.
Posted: Connor Morrissette