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Syracuse Basketball: Michael Gbinije Earns Spot on Nigeria National Team

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Gbinije could play in next summer's Olympic Games.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse guard Michael Gbinije has earned a spot on the Nigeria national team, he confirmed in a message to syracuse.com's Donna Ditota on Tuesday.

Gbinije has been practicing with the team in Europe -- first Paris, now Italy -- since last month as the Nigerians ready for the FIBA Africa Championship, otherwise known as AfroBasket. The country that wins AfroBasket gets an automatic bid to next summer's Olympics in Rio. Nigeria will meet Central Africa on Aug. 19 to begin its run in the tournament.

"Playing for the Nigeria national team is not only a unique opportunity, but it is also a blessing in which I truly appreciate," Gbinije told syracuse.com. "Making the Olympics would be an awesome experience if we qualify."

As Ditota notes, Gbinije's father, Frank, is a native of Nigeria. Gbinije's ability to play multiple positions -- presumably both guard spots and small forward -- helped land him a spot on the roster, Ditota wrote. That same versatility is something Syracuse has taken advantage of, as Gbinije has seen significant time at both guard and forward with the Orange.

Gbinije and the rest of the national team will leave Italy sometime later this week and head to Tunisia, the site of AfroBasket, according to Ditota.