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Wenyen Gabriel staying in the NBA Draft

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.”

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.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

72 Comments for Wenyen Gabriel staying in the NBA Draft

  1. GM1978
    5:44 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Good luck to a great kid!

  2. cats646
    5:45 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Best of luck to him.

  3. ukcamel
    5:46 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    He is in a situation similar to Liggins. Hard to understand if you’ve never been in need.

    Best of luck, BBN is behind you!

    • Megan
      7:16 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      Oh be quiet. You don’t know what you’re talking about. “His family came from Africa 20 years ago, so they’re poor and in need.” Please.

    • BBNDan7
      8:43 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      His family lives in government funded African refugee housing. So yes, his family is in need

    • KYcats11
      12:13 am May 31, 2018 Permalink

      Megan, it sounds like YOU don’t know what you are talking about.

    • Bull Filmer
      5:00 pm May 31, 2018 Permalink

      I love the kid; always have. Wenyen is a fine fella.

      Here’s the quote from CAL:

      “Wenyen, with his family situation, if he wants to do this, I’m for him. I’m on the phone right now making phone calls for him to different clubs.”

  4. Not Dan Issel
    5:47 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Good luck.

  5. DelrayCat
    5:47 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Makes sense why the Reid Travis news dropped. He’s coming. PJ returns, Vando and Gabriel move on. That’s your team next year folks.

  6. Genocat
    5:47 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Wish him the best, but he could have had a fun year, graduated, and maybe raised his stock for the next draft. Thank you, Mr. Gabriel. Godspeed to you.

    • Jiminy Crickets
      11:20 am May 31, 2018 Permalink

      Of all the decisions, I understand this one the most. No way he “improves his stock” and limited role on next years team, all while having opportunity to go overseas and make real money. He’s 1 year from graduating, he could always come back (lifetime scholarship) or complete online. Good for him. He’s the only one that made the best decision for numerous reasons, mad respect for him.

  7. ukmcky
    5:49 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Sad to see him go, but wish him well. Thank you, Wenyen!

  8. UKinIN
    5:50 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Whether they’re staying or leaving, I appreciate the kids announcing now instead of 11:59:59 tonight.

  9. Cousins Fake Tooth
    5:51 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Good luck. But he will never play a single NBA game.

    • HackRichards
      6:03 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      Yep BUT he’ll make more money than you playing in Europe or Israel or China or …

  10. Catcasey1
    5:51 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Just doesn’t make any logic a good education has got to count for something

    • Soylentbeans
      6:10 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      if he ends up in the g league or overseas he will make money and be able to help support his family. It won’t be hard for him to take classes in the off season and graduate still on top of earning what ever money he does.

    • michaelb
      7:08 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      You mean a “degree”. I’m afraid a good education won’t be found in Kentucky alone lol

  11. KYcats11
    5:52 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Good luck! Go get that money to support your family!

    • Megan
      7:21 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      Why is Wenyen the only player who needs to support his family? Tell us what you know about his family’s financial situation and why you think they are in need. Go ahead. Because you don’t know a damn thing about it. All you know is that they came from South Sudan 20+ years ago. And from that you’re making an assumption that’s kind of racist.

    • bigbluebanana
      7:48 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      Umm, it’s been pretty well documented on this site and others the type of background Wenyen comes from. Financial struggles family wide were certainly a part of that story. I’m all for calling out ignorant white people (and black people, I’m black myself) for racist BS, but as a token black guy here, I saw nothing remotely racist about the comment you replied to.

    • KYcats11
      12:17 am May 31, 2018 Permalink

      Megan, maybe you would learn your facts before you comment and look like a complete dumb***. As BBNDan7 said, his family lives in government funded African refugee housing, and if you read this site every once in a while you would know why he needs to support his family. So yeah, maybe I do know a damn thing, and you are the one that doesn’t.

    • damage_control
      9:13 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      Megan must be mad because Weynan is taking his anaconda and moving onto new hunting grounds.

    • Megan, for crying out loud. Do you read this site? KSR writers have continually said he needs to support his family. Did you call the entire KSR staff racist? Come on.

  12. N-UR-i
    5:52 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Good for him. Bad for me.

  13. ukkatzfan
    5:54 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Wishing him the best. I was hoping to see him as a Cat for 4 years. Really like his effort

  14. Han
    5:55 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Hope Travis does come. As of right now, we only have 3 big men on the roster with Vando yet to announce (and with a history of injury problems).

  15. Bobbum Man
    5:58 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Gonna miss seeing him out there, guy gave 100% all the time and loved seein that big smile! Best wishes to the young man!

  16. 4everUKblue
    5:58 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Best of luck Wenyen, I selfishly wish you were coming back but I totally understand. You will be missed.

    • Fitz
      6:21 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      To judge his decision as “outrageous” is baseless since you have no idea what thought processes and reasons he had to stay in the draft.; what makes you think he was “scared of completion”?

      As much as I wanted Wenyen back I’m not surprised he’s not.

  17. Robkycats54
    6:09 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Of the three this has to be the most outrageous decision, not being projected on any draft board, no invite to the combine, & no chance of getting drafted & Stays in the draft….. who are talking to these kids smh with a chance to be on tv almost every game at kentucky, instead he will be “””fighting””” for a G league spot smh I am seriously perplexed with him staying in the draft, to me this an example of being scared of competition he could’ve improve his stock tremendously next season, but i wish him the best in life….

    • KYcats11
      6:16 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      Apparently you don’t understand his background.

    • 4everUKblue
      6:17 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      He’ll still make more money than you playing overseas.

    • emtchris75
      6:23 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      Playing professionally doesnt mean in the NBA. He can make money to support his family in lithuania or bosnia like briscoe is doing and doing well

    • TonyMontana
      6:44 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      The average salary of foreigners in the Chinese Basketball Association is $500,000. Of course, there are tons of leagues across Europe, the middle East, etc. Where the top players make millions. He will find a team and make money even if it’s not the NBA.

    • Soylentbeans
      10:41 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      Out of any of the 3 he’s is actually the only one that probably couldn’t raise his draft stock at least not tremendously.

  18. chief_cat
    6:14 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Wenyen may feel that if he is going to pursue his dream of playing somewhere professionally, the time is now. Like all of our players, I would have loved for him to return but I can’t blame him for following his dreams. As for his education, lest we forget, Cal has promised all of these kids a lifetime scholarship.

    Go chase your dreams young man and then come back and get that degree. You will always have a place in Big Blue Nation.

    Keep smiling!

    6:17 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    PJ at 5:00pm = staying. Wenyen at 6:00pm = leaving. Vanderbilt at 7:00pm = ……? Staying….?

  20. ukdave62
    6:17 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Go down what you gotta do young man. Best of luck to you!

  21. Lip Man 1
    6:19 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Wish him all the best overseas. Seems like a good young man.

    • Wade
      6:38 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      Just remember chase your dreams and at uk you have a lifetime scholarship.

  22. BBN_strive_4_9
    6:19 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Good luck Wenyen

  23. recliner coach
    6:28 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Sometimes in life folks make decisions that are best for their family rather than themselves and that is a sacrifice they are willing to make. No idea what is best for the kid only he knows that. Seems to have a good head on his shoulders and willing to think of others first before himself, those 2 traits guarantee himself happiness and success heaven forbid it may not be in basketball.

  24. rickat
    6:31 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Wishing you much success and happiness in your future WG.

  25. TonyMontana
    6:38 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Awww man. I’ve always liked Wenyen. In particular his positive attitude and his motor. He was always the most energetic guy on the floor, I wish others played like him. I was hoping he would come back for another season but he is a man with responsibilities and the means to support his family. It might be overseas but I wish him the best.

  26. Swizzle
    6:42 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    What a knucklehead

    • bigbluebanana
      6:58 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      How? Exactly how is he a knucklehead? Because he’s going to go make way more money than you ever will and he will be doing it playing a game? Or is it the part where he’s going to provide for his family as any decent human being should, and would? Or is it because he has a lifetime scholarship to come back and get his degree on his own terms? He may never play a minute in the nba, but professional basketball is played around the world, and it pays well, mostly 6 figures, and when you grow up poor, 6 figures is a dream come true…believe me

  27. I don’t see this as the best decision, but I’m not in his situation, so I may be wrong. GOOD LUCK WENYEN!!!

    Oh, and for all of you “He’ll make more than YOU, even in Bosnia” guys, you know this HOW exactly? Granted, he wouldn’t have to make a lot to make more than me, but none of you know who all is commenting on this site. runningunni454 is a neuro$urgeon. Cat&Monkey is a scientist of some sort. How do you know some others are not 6 or 7 figure folks? So just save it.

  28. michaelb
    7:12 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    He’s gonna be able to finish his degree online while playing or during the summer / perhaps even next summer like they all do when they come back . Coach has said that these guys get life time scholarships when they come. That’s amazing

  29. Megan
    7:12 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    This makes me sad because I think Wenyen was my favorite player. That smile and the joy in his heart endeared him to me. But I’m also extremely happy that he received the positive feedback he needed to make this decision, and wish him the all the best. I want to see him in the league one day.

  30. CreepyFootGuy
    7:41 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Well that will hurt the teams average length if you know what I mean.

    • bigbluebanana
      8:04 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

      Man, when I got that pic of him in the stairwell texted to me, my manhood took a big hit. Dude is packin. Actually showed my wife just to ask what, if anything, a woman could do with that. Pretty sure it had an elbow.

  31. CoachCat
    8:05 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Terrible decision. He just started to understand defense and had found his shot. His family would have made it just like they have been for the last two years

  32. JMFATZ47
    8:36 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Megan: you epitomize liberal idiot

  33. Gus Chiggins
    8:39 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Any thoughts on Wenyen liking Kentucky Basketball Twitter account’s tweet but none of Cal’s??

  34. StuckinLville
    8:44 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    What life long dream? To not be drafted? I get he is doing this for his family, but like Teague, Johnson,Briscoe, he’s making a mistake. Best of luck to him though. It’s just sad people feel like they have to leave.

  35. Exilecop
    8:48 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Get in line behind James Young, Teague, Lamb,Orton and other’s who should have stayed

  36. WatchutalkinboutWillis
    9:59 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    Best of luck Wenyen! A fun player to watch! I’m still waiting for that five star guy to come back for a third year. Only Poythress so far….

  37. ukwildcat1991
    10:35 pm May 30, 2018 Permalink

    I hope his defense eats better for the nba… oh my bad the nba doesn’t play defense lol

  38. Robkycats54
    2:41 am May 31, 2018 Permalink

    Kentucky is the only school where guys leave because of incoming talent…. & don’t even get drafted, I’m really shocked, I am one biggest fans ever, in my life I havent missed a kentucky game, but guys like WG & JV leave with a chance neither gets drafted is mind boggling… I love big blue but those 2 leaving… think about if you had a car and one the mechanics just started skool learning how to fix cars (Wenyen) & the other had no feet pun intended (JV) u would be a fool to let them fix your car…. the NBA as they say there Dream lol is not drafting either 1 of these maybe JV but that not clear. IDC what no thinks but these guys arent even premier players in college, what do you think you can do in the nba… I agree with dick vitale if you are a guaranteed 1st round pick leave but this is my first time in my life where 2 guys didn’t compete at the nba Combine, stayed in the draft & neither are consensus lottery picks smh Although like I stated b4 I wish these guys the best of luck in there future endeavours no ill will towards either but Coach Cal has to be better with these kids, Every yr now guys at the end our leaving for the nba, Transferring or simply running out of town smh if this is a players first program tell these kids the truth or recruit sum of these kids back, Starting the yr with all freshman is hard & the reason we lose to K-State because of inexperience…. I hope we win this yr or get us Brad Stevenson..