Andrew White III’s commitment to the Orange for the 2016-17 season was arguably the most important development in a very busy off-season for Jim Boeheim and his Syracuse basketball program. The Orange are coming off of a run to the Final Four, but has lost three key pieces and Boeheim, on paper, has been able to replace his top three scorers in quick fashion.
White was the last piece to fall into place this off-season, with his commitment actually coming after the Fall semester had begun at Syracuse University. This week, it was revealed that former Syracuse player Michael Gbinije pitched the Orange to White and that he may have had an influence on White’s decision to come to the Hill.
Well, it would make a whole lot of sense if Gbinije’s pitch affected White’s decision. They grew up together, in Richmond, Virginia, playing one season together in high school, though they weren’t really friends at the time. Gbinije talked up playing in the ACC and playing for a storied program, according to Syracuse.com. These things are all well and good but the reason that Gbinije’s pitch might have actually worked is because of their similarities on the court.
Gbinije is a 6-foot-7 small forward. At least, that’s his natural position. However, Boeheim was able to transform him into a starting point guard in the ACC. More than that, he transformed him from a guy that would likely have gone oversees to continue his career to a guy who was drafted into the NBA. In fact, Gbinije says that the Detroit Pistons envision him continuing his development as a point guard in the Association.
Like Gbinije, White is a 6-foot-7 guard/forward combo. Like the former Syracuse guard, White can shoot from the outside and is just as capable as putting the ball on the floor and attacking the rack. In fact, their stats were remarkably similar last season. Gbinije totaled 17.5 points per game, while White racked up 16.7 in fewer minutes.
There is no doubt if White can be as valuable as Gbinije was, Orange fans will welcome him with open arms. In fact, the similarities between Gbinije and White are so clear, it almost seems like destiny that White would end up on the Hill, set to replace the man he has known for nearly his entire life.