Tag: Michael Gbinije

Michael Gbinije

Syracuse guard Michael Gbinije helps Nigeria clinch Olympic berth

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While Canadian Jamal Murray was not able to compete with his national team at their upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament, another current college basketball player was able to do so for the nation in which his father was born. And for Syracuse senior guard Michael Gbinije, his run with the Nigerian national team at the Afrobasket 2015 tournament in Tunisia was the first step towards wrapping up a roster spot for next summer’s Olympics.

Nigeria defeated Angola 74-65 in Sunday’s title game, thus clinching a spot for the team in next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Gbinije scored five points in the win, and for the tournament he averaged 7.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per contest. Gbinije scored in double figures in two of Nigeria’s eight games, one being a 15-point, five-steal outing against Gabon.

Of course, being part of the roster for Afrobasket doesn’t guarantee Gbinije a spot on Nigeria’s Olympic roster next summer. But to be part of a team that not only clinched its spot in Rio but also won its first continental title is pretty special as both he and his father discussed with the Syracuse Post-Standard.

“Playing on this team was a unique experience for me,” he said. “Overall, I enjoyed playing with these guys.”

Frank Gbinije watched today’s game via FIBA’s live feed and was thrilled to see Nigeria win and his son contributing to the team’s push to Rio.

“I’m pretty excited,” Frank Gbinije said by telephone. “I’m glad he had the opportunity. I think it’s been a wonderful experience for him and something he can carry into his senior season at Syracuse.”

Former Illinois State guard Champ Oguchi led the Nigerians, which finished the game with five double-digit scorers, with 19 points. Among those on Angola’s team was former SMU big man Yanick Moreira, who finished the title game with 13 points and six rebounds.

POSTERIZED: Syracuse’s Michael Gbinije throws down over defender in FIBA AfroBasket

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Before Michael Gbinije returns home to finish up his college career at Syracuse, he is trying to help the Nigerian National Team qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.

On Sunday, in Group A Play against the host country, Tunisia, the 6-foot-6 Gbinije took the hand-off, went down the lane and threw down a monster one-handed dunk over a defender. The highlight served as a consolation for Nigeria, as Tunisia won, 70-59, handing Nigeria its first loss of the tournament.

Gbinije finished with 10 points and three assists in 22 minutes off the bench, his best game of the tournament.

Nigeria finishes up Group Play on Wednesday.

Syracuse center Dajuan Coleman: ‘I feel like I’m ready to play’

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Dajuan Coleman hasn’t played a college game since Jan. 7, 2014, suffering a season-ending knee injury against Virginia Tech. Over a year later, Jim Boeheim announced that Coleman would redshirt the 2014-15 season, as he continued to rehab.

Entering this season, one of the main storylines for the Orange will be the status of the 6-foot-9 big man, especially with Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough in the NBA. Donna Ditota of the Post-Standard caught up with the rising junior center earlier this week, to update his recovery.

DC: 100 percent, yeah. Ready to go. I’m basing that on what I feel now.

DD: And what do you think you can contribute this season?

DC: Being one of the older guys — I’ll be a senior in the classroom, but a junior on the court — I’m going to be a leader. And definitely just being a low-post presence, rebounding and just being a hard worker.

Coleman’s health might not be the only key for the Orange next season. Syracuse will also need stable point guard play, which could result in senior Michael Gbinije sliding into the starting roleplaying alongside fellow fifth-year senior Trevor Cooney.

Through 37 games in his college career, Coleman is averaging 4.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.