Wenyen Gabriel has decided to stay in the NBA Draft, ending his career as a Kentucky Wildcat. He announced the news via social media moments ago.
“BBN, thank you for supporting me for the last two years and being patient with me through these last few weeks,” Gabriel said. “This process hasn’t been easy for me and it’s choosing between a lifelong dream and playing in front of a fan base that I’ve grown to love so much. Opportunities like these don’t come without the support and encouragement from my family, Coach Cal, the coaching staff, my teammates, and of course, the fans.
“I’ve enjoyed every moment of this journey at the University of Kentucky and I just want to thank everyone for who has supported me through both my ups and my downs. Lord knows this hasn’t been easy, but my time here has only better prepared me for what the future has for me.
“After receiving positive feedback, my dreams of becoming a professional basketball player are that much closer to reality. I believe that I’m ready to take that jump and will be keeping my name in the 2018 draft.”
To the best fans in the world, I couldn’t be more honored to have worn that Kentucky name across my chest for the past two years. It truly has been a blessing. To all those who have supported me, I just want to say thank you. My time here will never be forgotten… wish me well! pic.twitter.com/zpukdXMcf1
— UPM?N™ (@WenyenGabriel) May 30, 2018
Last season, Wenyen averaged 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds but came on strong in the final stretch. Over the last nine games of the season, he averaged 9.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 3-point field goals per game, becoming UK’s go-to perimeter shooter. He set a UK and SEC Tournament record in the semifinals by going a perfect 7-7 from the outside en route to 23 points.
“Wenyen’s game is where the league continues to trend towards,” John Calipari said. “He’s a position-less big man who can shoot, guard multiple positions and is willing to do what it takes to win. Wenyen grew so much from his freshman season to his sophomore year. If he continues to make those same strides, he’s going to carve himself a role with a team. He and I have talked and he knows he’s going to have to work hard to get there, but I’m confident he can.”
Not listed in any major mock drafts or top 100 prospect rankings, Wenyen’s best chances of playing professionally will likely be the G-League or overseas. So far, he’s worked out for Oklahoma City, Utah, Milwaukee, Brooklyn, and Sacramento, so here’s hoping he gets a spot in a summer league.
“Big Blue Nation, we’ve shared some exciting memories together,” he added. “From the first time I walked out for Big Blue Madness all the way to walking out of St. Louis as SEC champs, Kentucky will always be my home.”
Best of luck, Wenyen. Thank you for the memories. We’ll all be rooting for you.