Michael Gbinije We're really excited about this game. We know that as a team we need to play really well on both offense and defense, they've got a whole lot of good players on their team. I'm really trying to make sure our guys believe that we can win and that we belong on that court with them. We're going in with the mindset to win, that's for sure.
This is your first year with Benedictine HS, talk with me about the process that led you to that school.
Me and my dad were talking in advance of this school year, and we wanted me to look at going to a school that was more competitive and would help me further in my development and help me prepare more for college. Benedictine's got a big time rep around Richmond, and I knew it'd be a place where I would be pushed and we would play a lot of good teams.
What's Coach McAloon like? What kinds of things does he do that help a player develop?
All I can say is that Coach Mac has helped me in any number of ways. He's constantly telling all of us to play every play all the way through - not to play down to our competition. He's very detailed oriented, like to the point of making sure that we hedge out right on screens, having good team chemistry, but he gives us freedom to play as a team if we play the game the right way. I've learned so much from him, it's been great coming to Benedictine.
One of Benedictine's more famous alums recently is UNC Power Forward Ed Davis. Do you and him talk much since you both played for the same high school and UNC has been recruiting you for awhile?
To be honest, we really don't talk all that much, it's not like he's recruiting me to UNC because I'm at Benedictine.
In speaking of North Carolina, you've been highly visible at their games for over a year. What are your impressions of the team this year?
With UNC, my feelings have changed to a point. They have been struggling this year, but more so, when I look at them, I feel like they have a lot of guys at my position, and that's something that I am taking a look at it. I'm not saying it's a red flag, but it is something I'm looking at.
You've said in the past that the pitch from North Carolina has been that while scholarships are tight in Chapel Hill, they would love to have you. Is that still the case? How has their approach resinated with you?
I have felt like I've gotten a fair pitch from North Carolina and Coach Williams. They've told me right from the start that they didn't have a lot of spots open in my class unless they had guys who were going to leave for the NBA, but at the same time, I wanted to make sure that I took a look around at what else was out there for me.
In looking around you've recently been mentioned prominently with Duke. Can you walk us through the beginning of that recruitment?
Duke's been recruiting me for a good bit, they are for sure a school I'm interested in. I'm pretty much new with Duke when it comes to knowing what they are all about off the court, but I do know for sure that Coach K is a really great coach and they send a lot of guys, especially guys at my position to the NBA, which is something that not a lot of schools can say, so that's a good thing in my eyes.
Recently you were quoted in another article that Duke may very well be your leader. That's a pretty strong statement.
To be honest with you, I don't really want to say that Duke is my "leader". I'm for sure interested in Duke, but I'm also interested in other schools.
So was it a bit premature to declare a leader? Or are there other factors there?
I feel like I may have made a quick decision there. I said "I'm really interested in Duke", but I don't really agree with the statement that Duke is my "leader".
In looking around and beginning the process of a high major recruit, what goes into your evaluation? What do your parents and coaches have to say?
I'm just starting to look into who is going to be at schools when I'm going to be there, and seeing what the wing forward/guard situation is looking like. My mom and dad and AAU coach handle a lot of my recruitment for me. One of the common issues that we all look at is playing time - how does it look. I'm going to make sure once AAU season gets going and we get into the summer that I'm going to take some more visits, check things out at other schools.