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Syracuse Basketball: Michael Gbinije Quietly Approaching Rare Feats for Orange

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Another game, another 20-point effort for "Silent G."

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Gbinije's 27 points against Duke were the highlight of the Orange's night -- a bright spot for a rising star on an evening when you could easily point to negatives for Syracuse. The one-time Blue Devil continued his hot shooting en route to a career-high in points, and despite the loss, he's entering some rare air for SU players right now.

Consider the following;

  • Gbinije has now scored 20 or more points in three straight games, something no one in Orange has done all season, or since Jonny Flynn pulled off the feat in 2008-09
  • He's shot over 50 percent for four straight games, over 60 percent for three and has hit over 70 percent of his shots in each of the last two contests
  • At his current pace, "Silent G" would be the first Syracuse guard to hit over 50 percent of his shots (regular rotation players only, obviously) since Brandon Triche in 2009-10 -- and the highest overall for guards since Josh Pace in 2004-05
  • Gbinije's current clip from three (43.5 percent) would give him the best full-season percentage from outside (90 attempts or more) since Matt Roe in 1988-89 (47.4 percent)

So perhaps "Silent G" isn't so silent anymore? And especially with defenses keying in on Rakeem Christmas like never before -- regularly has three guys on him in recent games -- it's allowed Gbinije to operate in open space, be patient with his shot selection, and drive the lane more (which helps that field goal percentage). While he is a "guard," Michael IS 6'7" and unlike many of the predecessors we're comparing him to, he simply has more size to physically attack the rim.

But now what? When you're this good, and are performing at such a high level for a major conference team (yes, even major conference teams with postseason bans), people do take notice. And when your hot shooting has taken up the large part of the last month -- the toughest part of the Orange schedule -- even more so. No, we shouldn't be worrying about NBA Draft aspirations/talk just yet -- especially since no one else is really mentioning him just yet. But if this sort of play continues down the stretch... perhaps we're suddenly talking about TWO Syracuse players' pro prospects.

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There's a time and a place for that, though, and it's once the season is over. In the meantime, let's enjoy Gbinije for the excellent player he's rounding into and get excited for what's to come.