As he navigates through life inside the NBA’s makeshift bubble down in Orlando, former Kentucky forward Wenyen Gabriel has some extra time on his hands, and he’s using it to publicize some of his thoughts on his time in Lexington.
And it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
In response to John Calipari’s birthday message to former Wildcat Bam Adebayo on his Instagram page this morning, Gabriel has posted dozens of comments discussing his thoughts on the Kentucky basketball program, including the fact that he did not like playing for the UK head coach.
The string of comments and responses to fans began with a simple question to Coach Cal.
“Damn where was my [birthday] wish in March?” Gabriel asked, adding a laughing emoji.
“You turned on us when you started recruiting against us,” a fan responded, referring to the leaked direct message Gabriel admittedly sent to former UK basketball target Jaden McDaniels.
For those who don’t remember, the private message – which made its rounds in recruiting circles last summer and was eventually released to the public back in the fall – showed Gabriel telling McDaniels that unless he was ready to be a star right away at UK, Calipari would “stop [him] from dribbling” and “tell [him] to just catch and shoot.”
“Ayo today I seen that Kentucky recruiting you,” Gabriel said in the message. “I did a predraft workout [with your] brother last year. I [mess with] him so I feel like I should tell you about how I feel about Kentucky. In all honesty the best part of Kentucky was the brothers that I have for life now. I can’t say i wish I didn’t go there because it still all worked out for me but that s**t was f***ing hard bro and I made a lotta mistakes.
“My first conversation with Cal he said I was a 6’10 shooting guard… Don’t fall in love with his words let me tell you the real! You look like you could be the next You look like you could be the next [Kevin Durant] [for real]. But if you not ready to do it like right NOW. Like if you not ready to be one of the [STARS] and make all the plays… then [you’re going to] end up being just a skinny big man there. And trust me, that [stuff] is HARD. First thing’s first, if your handle is shaky, he’s [going to] stop you from dribbling. (That [stuff is going to mess you] up because [you’re going] to feel handicapped). Then he [is going to] tell you to just catch and shoot , or go set a slip screen and try to get open from there. But if there are no bigs, [you’re going to] be guarding all bigs…”
Fast forward to today, and Gabriel is now addressing the message and more in the comment section of his former head coach.
“I told him the truth and he did what he wanted with that information,” the former Wildcat told a fan, referring to his conversation with McDaniels. “He’ll still make millions if he wants to.”
“Every tall skinny kid wants to be like [Kevin Durant]. Cal didn’t promise me anything and I don’t regret going to Kentucky.”
“Kentucky ain’t for everybody bro, for some it’s the perfect place [though] forreal.”
Further down the comments, Gabriel told a fan that Calipari “cut [him] off” after the direct message was leaked.
“He first heard of the screenshot from me, they contacted me to ask if it was real and I immediately texted Cal months before any of y’all found out about it,” he said. “I tried to apologize but got no response. So here we are.”
“I didn’t like playing for him in college,” Gabriel said in another comment. “Then he cut me off after the Jaden situation, so now it is what it is.”
“Why would you get a bday wish from coach if you sway his recruit to go somewhere else?” one fan asked.
“Because every time I put on that Kentucky jersey I gave it everything I had,” the former Wildcat responded.
“[You’re] basically admitting [you] swayed a recruit away from the college that got [you] millions?” another fan said. “[YOU] WOULDN’T HAVE MADE IT IF IT WASN’T FOR KENTUCKY BRO.”
“Before I came to Kentucky, I was a top 15 recruit. When I left I went undrafted…” Gabriel responded.
The current Portland Trailblazers forward added that Calipari once told him that he couldn’t use the excuse that he “didn’t make it” because of him, with the UK coach pointing to his track record with getting players to the NBA at Kentucky.
“I was pretty sure I was gonna go undrafted that year but I was already motivated. “What are you gonna say you didn’t make it because of me? Look at all the guys on the wall!”
“He’s right for saying that, it let me know that I gotta do this on my own.”
As comments from fans piled up, Gabriel responded that he doesn’t care about respect and “never needed” support from the Big Blue Nation.
“Please delete this comment a lot of fans are losing respect for you,” one individual posted.
“That’s the thing. I don’t care about y’all respect and I don’t want anyone taking credit for my success,” Gabriel responded.
“Never needed y’all just like how y’all never needed me. Hope you have a great life.”
To see the comments for yourself, head to the comment section of Calipari’s Instagram post below: