Syracuse Basketball: 5 Expectations for Duke Transfer Michael Gbinije

Daniel O'Brien@@DanielO_BRFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2012

Syracuse Basketball: 5 Expectations for Duke Transfer Michael Gbinije

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    The news of Duke Blue Devils forward Michael Gbinije transferring to Syracuse has Orange fans excited about the future and wondering how he'll impact the team in the fall of 2013.

    The 6'7" forward will sit out the 2012-13 season due to transfer rules, but he'll be able to practice with the team and learn the nuances of Jim Boeheim's system.

    What can we expect of him as he transitions from Durham to the 'Cuse?

    We caught up with Gbinije's high school coach, Sean McAloon of Benedictine High School in Richmond, VA and one of his high school teammates, Dan Gill. They helped give a clearer picture of what Syracuse can expect from the talented transfer.

    Here's a breakdown of five expectations for Michael Gbinije.

1. Slashing to the Hoop Consistently

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    With ideal swingman size and loads of athleticism, Michael Gbinije will give Syracuse a slasher and finisher. 

    Orange stars like Wes Johnson and Kris Joseph have recently enjoyed tremendous success as aggressive small forwards. Gbinije could end up being a similar wing threat: someone whose shooting ability sets up his ability to drive.

    "He's multifaceted," said Sean McAloon. "You can't just take one thing away from him. If you take away the drive, he'll make outside shots. If you take away his shot, he'll drive and hit pull-up shots and layups. It makes him tough to guard."

    Gbinije can finish with either hand and can send it home with ferocity if necessary. Look for him to be a Kris Joseph-style attacker in the Orange offense.

2. Nice Fit in the 2-3 Zone

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    Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone could end up making Michael Gbinije a dangerous player.

    He already has the physical tools necessary to be a successful Orange defender. Couple that with an entire year to learn in practice and observe games, and you've got all-conference defense in the making.

    "His length is going to help him a lot in Syracuse's zone," said Dan Gill. "His size and athleticism will help him succeed in the 2-3."

    Gbinije could end up being a turnover machine if he reads the passing lanes in the zone and plays good help defense. But McAloon notes that there will definitely be a learning curve.

    "It might take a little time, he's got to get acclimated with how to play their zone," McAloon said.

3. Fast Break Force

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    Syracuse loves to get out and run when the opportunity presents itself, so Michael Gbinije will be another weapon to add to the Orange ensemble.

    His combination of length and explosiveness will put pressure on defenses and make it nearly impossible to stop the 'Cuse fast break.

    Gbinije could be one of those exciting types of players who gets the Carrier Dome rocking with his open-floor exploits—the kind of player opposing coaches want to bottle up.

    McAloon expects Gbinije to thrive in an uptempo environment, pushing the ball sporadically and running the floor.

4. Dependable Outside Shooting

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    Much has been said about Michael Gbinije's athleticism, but it's his shooting ability that really gives him the ability to be an effective scorer.

    The Orange will lose key scorers Brandon Triche and James Southerland next offseason, so Gbinije's fluid shooting stroke will be welcomed in 2013.

    He can spot up to shoot and is also adept at pulling up off one or two dribbles and elevating for a jumper.

    Gill notes that Gbinije's outside shooting enhances his potential dramatically.

    "He has a lot of potential because he's so athletic and he can shoot," said Gill.

5. Hard Work and Positive Energy

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    Both Coach McAloon and Dan Gill stressed that Michael Gbinije's love for the game, work ethic and positive inclination will make him an excellent teammate in Syracuse.

    "He loves playing hoops, and he's always excited to get out and practice," said Gill. "He's personable, never complains and brings a positive atmosphere to the locker room."

    McAloon suggested that Gbinije's character played a factor in Boeheim's willingness to accept him as a transfer.

    "Boeheim doesn't take transfers too often," said McAloon. "I think that says it all."

Overall Outlook

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    Michael Gbinije will be an excellent addition to the Orange this year, even if he can't play in games until 2013.

    During his year on the sidelines, he'll be able to soak up the Syracuse strategy, get accustomed to the team and push the people who are currently in the rotation. He might not have as much of an impact as Wes Johnson did when he transferred, but we'll see a significantly better Gbinije in 2013. 

    He needs to work on his ball-handling, as it's limiting his shot-creating skills right now. If he can put several dribbles on the deck and coordinate it with his footwork, he'll be tough to stop.

    He's already a formidable athlete who can knock down open and contested jumpers, and he'll also be a capable defender on the perimeter and corners.

    Time will prove that Gbinije's decision to transfer to Syracuse was the right move.