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Wenyen Gabriel could face tough NBA Draft decision next year

Could Gabriel’s draft decision come down to the wire like Diallo’s? And more info about his offseason training.

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats just went through a tough waiting period with Hamidou Diallo, as his decision to stay in the NBA Draft or return to school went down to the wire.

ESPN’s Myron Medcalf thinks UK could face the same thing with Wenyen Gabriel next year.

As the top returning scorer for Kentucky, Gabriel should compete for a more significant role on a roster that will include the nation's top-ranked recruiting class, per He has to add some muscle to his frame, and his 32 percent clip from beyond the arc and his 47 percent clip inside the 3-point line must improve. He's still a Kentucky forward with a high ceiling, though, and that helps. His work ethic this offseason, however, will impact his professional ambitions after next season.

I wouldn’t be too worried about Gabriel’s offseason work ethic. He’s back home in Massachusetts, hitting the gym and putting on weight. He’s working on his strength, flexibility and agility. Part of his workout? Boxing.

Imagine having to take on that reach in the ring.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Gabriel has been training with Mass Rivals, his former club team. They reached out Gabriel and hooked him up with a personal trainer that has him working out five days a week on strength, flexibility and agility in addition to his basketball regimen.

Gabriel will get around five weeks of this training in before he returns to Lexington for summer classes.

“He’s been in, and he’s been a hard worker,” said T1 Training owner and trainer Tyler Haugh. “He stays late. He’s doing extra basketball drills and stuff with another guy after workouts probably four or five days a week. He’s dedicated.”

If the video of Gabriel already bulked up is any indicator, he’s attacking this regimen with everything he’s got, and the results show as much.

“He’s had some tremendous progress. We took a two week picture. and he was like ‘holy crap.’” Haugh said. “I was kind of surprised at what he got out of it in two weeks. We hammered down the nutrition with him, too. We make sure he’s getting the right food he needs to be eating. He’s way into it. He was all in.”

Gabriel strengthening up is huge, not only for his NBA potential but also to get him on the floor more often this year. Despite coming in as a five-star recruit, Gabriel struggled down the stretch of the season and his minutes diminished late last year. With Kevin Knox, Jarred Vanderbilt and P.J. Washington joining the team, he’ll have a lot of competition at the four spot.

If Gabriel wants more time on the floor, he’ll need to be in the gym.