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Wenyen Gabriel having great offseason for Kentucky Wildcats; tabbed breakout player by CBS Sports

Gabriel has reportedly been UK’s best player this offseason.

Vanderbilt v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Wenyen Gabriel has become one of the least-discussed players when it comes to the 2017-18 Kentucky Wildcats.

Both media and fans alike have rarely mentioned the sophomore-to-be forward in terms of projected starters and even key bench players for next season.

It’s understandable, being that UK brings in six new players that were rated as five-star prospects by at least one recruiting service, not to mention Hamidou Diallo returning and almost certainly being a starter.

That’s why it would be easy for any player to fall behind and struggle to see the floor next season. Many seem to think that’s what will happen to Gabriel, but he’s making sure that won’t be the case.

According to Jon Rothstein, Gabriel has been UK’s best player in summer workouts and practices:

Elsewhere, Gabriel was tabbed as one of CBS’ under-the-radar players who will have breakout seasons in 2017-18:

The only UK player returning who earned minutes last season. He has big-game potential, and because -- even though he's just a sophomore! -- he's the veteran voice, Calipari will lean on him more. NBA guys are keeping a close eye on his development.

We already knew Gabriel has been training hard and bulking up this offseason, so perhaps that hard work is paying off. UK certainly needs him to step up as one of the lone upperclassmen on the roster next season.

Heck, he may need to be UK’s best player just to ensure he’s a starter. Quade Green, Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox are all but locked into starting spots, and Gabriel isn’t starting at the 5, so he’s essentially got one starting spot he can win, but it has to be over guys like P.J. Washington, Sacha Killeya-Jones or Jarred Vanderbilt.

Having that much competition for minutes is likely helping Gabriel’s offseason drive, though he showed enough potential last season to think he’s capable of a big sophomore season.

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