We are officially two thirds of the way through our SU Top 100 list. Along the way we have been breaking down the list on our FizzCasts, so go listen to those as well. Coming in at No. 33 on our list is one of the best transfers in Syracuse Men’s Basketball history, Michael “Silent G” Gbinije.
Gbinije transferred to Syracuse after playing one season at Duke. He wasn’t welcomed with completely open arms. As a former Blue Devil, fans had their reservations. Plus, Jim Boeheim said, “I didn’t like him at all. He went to Duke and I really didn’t think that he was that good to be honest with you. He couldn’t shoot, and he was not really a guard.”
Boy, did Gbinije prove Boeheim wrong. He went from a role player off the bench his sophomore season, to a starter his junior year, to the go-to guy his senior campaign. He was a 6-foot-7 point guard that could also play the shooting guard, small forward and power forward positions. Each season Gbinije’s stats improved:
- Sophomore: 3 ppg / 2 rpg / 1 apg
- Junior: 13 ppg / 5 rpg / 4 apg
- Senior: 18 ppg / 4 rpg / 4 apg / 2 spg
Silent G scored in double figures in all 37 games he played in his senior year and shot 39% from deep. So that whole “he couldn’t shoot” thing that Boeheim said before Gbinije came to Syracuse was disproven real quick. Plus, the “he was not really a guard” was wrong too because Gbinije was named to the All-ACC Second Team as a guard his senior year.
He also had highlight plays:
Gbinije was an outstanding defensive player. It is sometimes hard to evaluate Syracuse players as defenders because they play a zone, but you could tell how talented and hardworking he was on the defensive side of the ball. He averaged 2 steals per game in both his junior and senior seasons. Gbinije was so impressive defensively he was named to the All-ACC Defensive Team.
One of the most impressive parts to Gbinije’s resume is the Final Four run that he led in 2016. The Orange finished the regular season 19-12 that year and weren’t even projected to make the NCAA Tournament. But when Selection Sunday rolled around, SU got the ten-seed. The expectations were extremely low for Syracuse, but somehow they made it all the way to the Final Four, knocking off one-seeded Virginia along the way. Gbinije was a huge reason for the surprising run. He averaged 15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals per game during the tournament, earning him an NCAA All-Region nod.
Great stats, check. Personal accolades, check. Postseason success, check. Proving Jim Boeheim wrong, check. Michael Gbinije checks all the boxes to make it onto our SU Top 100 list and that is why Silent G comes in at No. 33.