Spend five minutes with Michael Gbinije, a 6-foot-5 sophomore from Christchurch (Va.) School, and you get the feeling the young teenager is all about one thing. He wants to get better at everything he does.
Gbinije was the best overall prospect at last weekend's Elite 75 Prep showcase in Gastonia, N.C. The class of 2011 prospect made it look all too easy but in conversations with those at the camp, he says there is still work to be done.
"I used to settle on jump shots all the time. Now, I'm going to the hole most of the time. I still have the jumper. It's still a weapon but I need to keep working on it," he said.
Over the course of the last year, Gbinije has developed into one of the best players in his class nationally.
"My game has really picked up. I used to not be as strong going to the basket. I'm stronger now. I've been lifting weights. But I still need to improve my jump shot. I've played against guys like LaBryan Nash and LaQuinton Ross and I feel like I'm at that same level as them as far as talent. I just came up later than them," he said.
"My mindset is that no one can stop my one on one. I feel like teams will have to double team me. I can create a shot with a jab or a step back. I want to make sure that I have the moves and the strength and the quickness to get by my opponent. I feel like I can get a shot any time I want but it's usually not just going to the basket. I've got to get better at that."
Gbinije says part of his improvement came with an added confidence in his own game. That came with a trip to Las Vegas in July and a strong showing on the biggest stage.
"This past summer, I moved up to play 17 and under with Triple Threat. I played against guys like John Wall. If you can play with guys like that, when you come back down to your age level, it's a whole lot easier," he said. "I was a deer in the headlights [in Vegas]. You have to find out where you are at really quick. I got used it though."
He sure has. He's also getting used to big time programs coming out to see him. Gbinijie has already picked up a handful of high-major scholarship offers. Virginia Tech, Maryland, Pittsburgh and Virginia have offered, he said.
North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Clemson, Memphis and Duke have shown significant interest, too. He said he has visited Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Duke unofficially this fall.
"I don't want to rush into anything. I'm just listening right now and taking it all in," he says.