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Wenyen Gabriel’s play “an example of what we need every player to do”

Wenyen Gabriel is Kentucky’s hardest worker right now, to the point Kenny Payne says the coaching staff is using him as an example of what the rest of the team needs to do to succeed.

“We just had a staff meeting and I told [John Calipari], [Wenyen’s] energy, his effort, what he’s giving us on the floor, just the fight of it, is an example of what we need every player to do,” Kentucky’s associate head coach said this morning.

Gabriel may only average 6.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, but his energy and effort are a big reason Kentucky’s won some games they probably should have lost. After disappearing in the second half of his freshman season, Gabriel has rediscovered his game, which Payne says makes him the perfect role model for a historically young squad.

“This kid came here with a bunch of expectations and it’s easy to get lost in what you are and who you are as a player. He’s finally getting back to being the player that he is: an energy guy, a tough guy, a rebounding guy. Obviously, we’d like him to make better decisions handling the ball. He has some unforced turnovers at times, but his energy, his fight, his determination to play winning basketball, is really good right now.”

Gabriel’s hustle was a big part of Kentucky’s win at Vanderbilt; Payne said they’re using his film to show the younger guys what they must do to go on the road and win in an ever-improving SEC.

“One of the things we’re trying to do, we’re trying to be a great road team. A team that can go on the road and fight and get a win; that starts with guys like Wenyen. That kind of fight, that kind of determination to fight for a rebound. That kind of determination to block a shot at a pivotal time in the game. Take a charge. Dive on a loose ball.”

“When you’re playing road games, every little situation on the court, every possession matters. We need that from more than Wenyen, but he’s an example of why we show film and why we show players, the younger guys, ‘Look at what he’s done. Look at how he fought to get that offensive rebound and he was outside of the three-point line.'”

Look at how he swatted and saved the ball on this badass play:

From liability to leading by example, Wenyen is proving that hard work pays off.


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.

17 Comments for Wenyen Gabriel’s play “an example of what we need every player to do”

  1. PillsburyThrowboy
    2:10 pm January 15, 2018 Permalink

    He is still a liability.

    He can shoot the 3 pretty well and he hustles. Outside of that, I don’t think he’s anything special. He makes some really silly mistakes and looks lost a lot of the time. His basketball IQ is very low. Gabriel fouled out with 12 minutes left in a game the other day. 12 MINUTES. Like holy crap. Like I’ve stated on here before, I don’t really like him. I love his hustle but I still think he’s too big of a liability.

    • ClutchCargo
      2:33 pm January 15, 2018 Permalink

      You’re missing the entire point of this post. Nobody is saying he’s a superstar. His hustle is what everyone on the team needs to emulate.

    • Shane523
      3:44 pm January 15, 2018 Permalink

      How are so invested that you find yourself disliking a kid you dont even know? Odd

    • antiquefurnitureandmidgets
      5:53 pm January 15, 2018 Permalink

      6.5 points and 5.6 rebounds over 23.5 minutes per game and 40% from behind the arc. Liability?

    • GM1978
      6:05 pm January 15, 2018 Permalink

      He’s couldn’t be further from a liability..

    • Well you sound fun Poppin’ Fresh.

    • codeblue270
      10:53 pm January 15, 2018 Permalink

      Stay on the couch biscuit boy!!

      I’ll take hustle & heart over coasting talent everyday 🤕
      Tyler Ulis, WCS, Hawkins, Polson, Floreal, lee, Miller, Davis, Kat 💙the list could go on & on these guys fought hard every game with toughness, grit & determination to get better – in the end they won the hearts & loyalty of the BBN
      So take you negative cookies and feed your own ego – the true blue fans will support the hustle we love to watch

  2. RexRox
    3:51 pm January 15, 2018 Permalink

    My favorite highlight from Saturday’s game was when Saben Lee challenged Gabriel on the fast break. Had his shot blocked and the ball thrown off his leg for his trouble.

  3. rickshelton
    5:11 pm January 15, 2018 Permalink

    Thanks for the clip of Wenyen from Saturday. That was the play of the game for me. Plus Wenyen is our favorite player!

  4. blueblood4life
    12:36 am January 16, 2018 Permalink

    Pure active hands and has a great motor . I agree with coach need some others with that kind of motor! Go cats!!

  5. mikeintn
    1:37 am January 16, 2018 Permalink

    He could be on my team any time.

  6. Megan
    2:23 am January 16, 2018 Permalink

    I love Wenyen.

    But don’t you think purposefully throwing the ball at an opposing player should be a violation of some kind? A foul, a technical, something. I can see the difficulty of determining whether you were or weren’t trying to hit the player, but usually there’s no question. Just doesn’t seem like it should be a part of the game. It’s a dodgeball move, Cotton.

    • CATandMONKEY
      6:59 am January 16, 2018 Permalink

      With all due respect, no.

      It is a classic tactic taught to every kid at basketball camp as a maneuver to maintain or regain ball possession.

      It is not against the rules and when pulled off, can really demoralize the opponent.

    • ClutchCargo
      7:00 am January 16, 2018 Permalink

      That’s been an accepted part of the game for as long as I can remember. It’s not a gray area at all, just a hustle play.

    • ThatsAShame
      9:20 am January 16, 2018 Permalink

      I agree and would like to also start the conversation about people who dribble the ball while playing dodge ball. Like you I have said “bouncing the ball is a basketball move” just throw it at me already.

  7. Cdawg
    11:07 am January 16, 2018 Permalink

    They need to be able to dribble thou