Gbinije Learning, Improving

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. --- Michael Gbinije popped up on the national radar early in his career. Given that he's been well known in recruiting circles, it's sometimes hard to keep in mind that he's yet to start his junior season of high school. The 6-foot-6 prospect has already seen both the good and bad side of attention at a young age.

To his credit, it looks like he's learning. After a spring that left people asking about his game, Gbinije has entered July with a new, and more aggressive mindset. The results of have been positive to this point.

"I've noticed it too," Gbinije said this week at the Peach Jam. "It's just a change of mindset really. I'm a whole lot more humble now. I just want to prove myself."

Pressed on what he meant about changing his mindset, Gbinije admitted that maybe he'd rested on his laurels a bit.

"I think maybe at the start of AAU season, I kind of knew my name was kind of out there so I felt like I didn't have to do anything," he said. "That kind of hurt me."

While the stabs of criticism can hurt early on, Gbinije can see the good in taking a fall and getting back up.

"I needed that to happen to me," Gbinije said. "I mean, I want to keep rising and rising. But, I think I needed to have that fall and then pick back up and have the right mindset."

At events like the Peach Jam, the junior-to-be knows that the college coaches are watching his every step. It's impossible not to acknowledge them, but he tries his best to phase them out.

"It makes you play a little harder, knowing that college coaches are here," said Gbinije. "I do try to shut them out, though. If you worry about them then you may start just going one on one or whatever."

Instead of the one-on-one game, the wiry wing has been trying to show coaches that he's been working on being a smarter player. While he's more explosive than in the past and has improved his ball handling, it's another area that he's focused on.

"Pretty much my basketball IQ," said Gbinije, who will transfer to Richmond (Va.) Benedictine this fall. "I'm just learning the game -- what shots to take, what shots not to take, just looking at each situation."

In terms of discussing specific schools, he prefers to keep things vanilla.

"I've got a whole lot of college coaches," said Gbinije. "Mostly from the East side but some on the West Coast. It's mainly all ACC, pretty much all east coast teams. New York all the way down to Florida."

Asked more directly about North Carolina, Gbinije struggled for an answer. He's noticed UNC coaches watching him – including Roy Williams on multiple occasions this week at the Peach jam -- and he's told their interested, but at the same time his contact with the staff has been relatively limited.

"It's a tough question, I don't know what they think," said Gbinije of the Tar Heels. "I mean, I talk to Kendall [Marshall], [Reggie] Bullock and all of them. They tell me that coach has been asking about me."

Now that things are back on track, Gbinije is looking to finish the summer strong. As for making a decision, he's aiming to get it done within the next year.

"I would like to have the school, I'd like to be committed before next AAU season."

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