While all eyes have been on SU’s two standout freshman from this year, the Orange has a fifth-year senior that single-handedly carried Syracuse to the NCAA tournament. His name is Michael Gbinije, remember him?
With all the focus on whether or not the underclassmen will declare for the NBA Draft, Gbinije may have the quietest fanfare of any graduating SU player expected to be drafted. The first step of his NBA Draft process is complete, however, as he signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports, who has a list of clients including Kevin Durant and Justise Winslow, as well as other-sport athletes like Todd Gurley and Dez Bryant.
Currently, Gbinije figures to be a second round pick, although he has been creeping up draft boards since the start of the season. Nbadraftnet currently has Gbinije as the 31st overall pick, the first pick of the second round going to the Boston Celtics. It’s interesting to note that this mock also has Malachi Richardson being drafted 17th-overall to the Indiana Pacers. Other draft services do not have Richardson being drafted, most probably because they expect him to stay in school for another year.
Draftexpress, on the other hand, has Gbinije being selected much later in the second round, at pick number 54 by the Atlanta Hawks. Gbinije goes before talented players like Yogi Ferrell, Anthony Barber and Perry Ellis, but has lower draft stock than Jared Uthoff, Wayne Selden and Sheldon McClellan. Walter Football’s NBA mock has Gbinije being drafted 45th overall to the Utah Jazz, citing his versatility on the court and ability to play multiple positions. Richardson is projected to go 21st-overall to the Charlotte Hornets in this draft. Similarly, mynbadraft has Gbinije being selected 55th-overall by the Brooklyn Nets.
Syracuse has had a ton of players drafted over the last five seasons, with recruiting shifting from four-year players to more one-and-dones in the program. If either Gbinije or Richardson are selected in the 2016 draft, the Orange would have had a player selected in each of the last five drafts, which has happened only once before. Gbinije averaged 17.5 points per game this season, as well as roughly four assists and rebounds per game. While he won’t play point guard in the NBA, Gbinije boasts the versatility that many other draft prospects lack.
Be sure to follow the Fizz on Twitter @OrangeFizz to follow Gbinije’s path to the NBA Draft. Where do you think Mike will be drafted? Will he make an NBA Roster out of training camp? Who are some comparable players to Gbinije already in the league?