Duke freshman Michael Gbinije to transfer

CorrespondentApril 16, 2012 

Duke’s hectic offseason continued Monday as the Blue Devils basketball program announced that freshman Michael Gbinije will transfer.

The 6-foot-7 swingman from Chester, Va., averaged 1.7 points and 0.8 rebounds per game in limited playing time in 19 games last season. Considered by various recruiting services to be one of the top 35 recruits in last year’s class, Gbinije is expected to try to transfer to another Division I school.

“We wish Michael the best of luck and we will support him through his impending transfer,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a release provided by the university. “He is a talented player with a solid future ahead of him.”

Gbinije scored a season-high eight points in the Blue Devils’ Dec. 19 win over UNC-Greensboro. He logged six minutes of playing time twice during the ACC season in convincing wins against Wake Forest and Boston College.

Before Monday’s announcement, though, it seemed Gbinije would have a chance to enjoy a larger role with the Blue Devils his sophomore season. Most of the Blue Devils’ options at the small forward position for next season are somewhat undersized, and if Gbinije continued to develop, he seemed to have a chance to carve out a spot in Duke’s rotation.

But Gbinije likely would have had to beat out Alex Murphy for those minutes. Murphy, a 6-foot-8 forward out of Wakefield, R.I., redshirted this past season after graduating high school a year early to enroll at Duke.

Even if Murphy didn’t play, Duke’s players and coaches have an idea of his capabilities after watching Murphy in practice. Asked to describe his game, Murphy said he is a “big” who is versatile enough to play on the perimeter and in the post.

Duke did not have a surplus of those kinds of players last season.

“I see a great opportunity for myself next year to be able to play,” Murphy said Monday. “I think I’m ready to step up to the plate next year and do whatever they ask me to do and help the team in any way possible.”

Since the Blue Devils lost March 16 in their opening game of the NCAA tournament to Lehigh, freshman guard Austin Rivers has declared for the NBA draft while junior forward Mason Plumlee opted to return for his senior year. Duke also missed out on high school star Shabazz Muhammad, who committed to UCLA last week.

The Blue Devils are still awaiting word from two remaining high school targets – center Tony Parker and power forward Amile Jefferson. Both players, who are listed as top-30 players in ESPN.com’s prep recruit rankings, have Duke on their final lists of schools. Both are expected to decide in the week or two where they will play college basketball.

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