Syracuse senior guard Michael Gbinije has been a big piece for the Nigerian National Team this month as he has been with the team while they compete for a spot in the 2016 Summer Olympics. The team found its way into the big event after they won the Afrobasket championship on Sunday afternoon.
According to College Basketball Talk, the Nigerian team defeated Angola 74-65 in the finals of the Afrobasket tournament to clinch a spot in the 2016 Olympics. Gbinije scored only 5 points in the win, but he averaged 7.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per game throughout the tournament.
The win doesn’t guarantee him a spot on the team for next year’s Olympics, but he will be able to take his experience with the team into the 2015-16 season for the Orange. He and his father, who was also born in Nigeria, talked about the experience 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.”
Also playing for the team was former Illinois State guard Champ Oguchi, who led the team in the championship game with 19 points. Congratulations to the Nigerians and good luck to Gbinije on the upcoming season.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports