The NBA is a young man’s league—but 24 might be too old.

At least that’s what Michael Gbinije, the Syracuse product who made a name for himself this past March leading the Orange on an unexpected run to the Final Four, has been told by various NBA talent evaluators.

After workouts, scouts and personnel would look him in the eye and feed him a line he almost couldn't believe. Incredulously, he recalls their words. “Hey, you played great, but you’re too old for us.”

When did 24 become the new 35?

As preposterous as it sounds, all Gbinije can do is shake his head when he recalls the meetings. At 24 years old—pegged to be the oldest player taken in the 2016 NBA Draft—Gbinije [pronounced Bennijay] has five years on presumed No. 1 selection Ben Simmons. But why his advanced age was held against him during the draft process wasn't so much a point of contention as it was a source of motivation.

“When people say I’m too old it’s frustrating to hear. I can’t control my age,” says Gbinije. “But I also kind of use that frustration as a kind of motivation and energy and carry it with me whenever it’s time to play and get on the court.”