Frank Gbinije, Michael Gbinije's father, came to the United States in 1982 by way of Nigeria. Because of this, his son will be given the opportunity to make the Nigerian Men's National Team.
The Nigerian National Team is currently playing exhibition games in Paris to prepare for AfroBasket 2015 in Tunisia. The games in Tunisia are slated for August 19 to 30 and the winner gets a bid to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
The team has invited 26 men to try out for the team, among them are some big names with the likes of Ike Diogu, Al-Farouq Aminu, Ekpe Udoh. Syracuse fans will recognize the names Talib Zanna and Chris Obekpa from Pittsburgh and St. Jonh's, respectively. Only 12 men will make the final team, but only 12 of the invitees are currently in Paris playing exhibition games.
Frank Gbinije has been in talks with William Voigt, head coach of the Nigerian National team and former coach of the D-League's Bakersfield Jam. Voight suggested that Gbinije has a good chance to make the team. Having different skill sets and playing multiple positions at Syracuse serves Gbinije well for the international game. His father, however, is a little apprehensive sending his son across borders:
"There is a level of concern for me from a security standpoint of him traveling overseas. I'm a little bit nervous. But I'm pretty excited for him. He'll have a chance to play for the Nigerian team. And the winner gets an automatic bid for the Olympic games next year." Said Frank Gbinije.
Nigeria has only made one Olympic appearance in 2012. The team won one game in group play against Tunisia.
Gbinije won't be the only Syracuse player in Paris as Kaleb Joseph will be heading to The City of Light on Monday from New York City. La vie est belle, fellas.