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Former Blue Devil Michael Gbinije Finds Niche With Syracuse

Michael Gbinije, who played for Duke his freshman year before transferring, has become Jim Boeheim's sixth man at Syracuse.

Nov 10, 2014; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Michael Gbinije (center) drives to the basket between Adrian Bulldogs guard R'mand Harp (32) and Adrian Bulldogs guard Jamison Webster (right) during the first half at the Carrier Dome.
Nov 10, 2014; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Michael Gbinije (center) drives to the basket between Adrian Bulldogs guard R'mand Harp (32) and Adrian Bulldogs guard Jamison Webster (right) during the first half at the Carrier Dome.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

While we thought Michael Gbinije could have had a great role at Duke, as it turned out, he came to Duke for the wrong reasons.

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Things have worked out well for him at Syracuse though, where he has become a one-man bench: Jim Boeheim is using him as a sixth man who can play three positions.

Duke did something similar with Mike Dunleavy his freshman year. With a very thin bench and basically six players in the rotation, Dunleavy allowed Duke to have a highly flexible bench. Coach K would take someone out - say Shane Battier or Chris Carrawell - and rotate the next guy back in. Toss in Nate James and you can see how well that would work - everyone except Jason Williams could play at least two positions.

Syracuse is not quite that flexible, but having a Swiss Army knife on the bench is bound to be helpful.