CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va — Michael Gbinije seemed flattered by the comparison, even if he didn't completely agree with it.
Gbinije, who's 6 feet 7, appears destined to take over Kyle Singler's small forward position at Duke beginning in the 2011-12 season.
Like Singler, Gbinije said, he comes off screens and shoots from the perimeter, and he plays off the ball without doing a lot of dribbling. But that's where the comparison ends.
Singler is taller and more powerful than Gbinije, but isn't as agile.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski has said that with highly regarded point guard Kyrie Irving and shooting guard Seth Curry joining the rotation next season, Duke will move back toward a faster-paced system in 2010-11.
The skills of Gbinije, a rising high school senior who committed to Duke in March, could help the Blue Devils continue to play fast the following season.
"I think I'm a good fit because they're perimeter-oriented," Gbinije said. "They use a whole bunch of guards, and they're versatile. Coach K gives them a lot of freedom on the court."
During his opening game at the NBA Players Association Top 100 camp on Thursday morning, Gbinije showed his ability to get loose on the fast break. He was a bit weary after flying in from San Antonio late the night before after getting cut at the Under 18 USA team trials, but he still got out and ran.
He made a layup in transition over Virginia Tech commitment C.J. Barksdale. He raced ahead of the pack for a one-handed dunk. He turned a steal at midcourt into another breakaway jam, and scored 10 points in a 78-67 loss.
Gbinije (pronounced Ben-ih-jhay) is rated the No. 16 prospect in the nation by scout.com. He has a chance to be the second elite prospect from Richmond (Va.) Benedictine High to come to the Triangle in four years.
Forward Ed Davis, who spent two seasons with North Carolina before entering this month's NBA Draft, also played at Benedictine.
"I'm very lucky," said Benedictine coach Sean McAloon. "Some people don't get that in their lifetime, and we've been lucky to get two."
McAloon said Gbinije still needs to get stronger (he weighs 200 pounds), improve his ball-handling, and develop a better pull-up game. But he can score from 3-point range at 6-7 and has an effective mid-range jumper.
He's not exactly the same type of player as Singler, who was the most outstanding player of the Final Four last season as a junior. But Gbinije has a chance to give Duke a formidable presence at that position.
"I could see me going in there and at least coming off the bench [as a freshman] and getting good numbers or whatever," he said. "Plus, Coach K, I think he can develop me to become a better basketball player."
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