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Wenyen Gabriel, Isaiah Briscoe make NBA rosters

Both will be playing in the NBA for the first time in their careers after multi-year stays at UK.

NBA: Sacramento Kings-Media Day Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings today announced the waiving of Kalin Lucas and Cameron Reynolds, bringing their roster to a final count of 15 plus one two-way player, Wenyen Gabriel.

Gabriel took his share of flack in deciding to leave Kentucky last summer, and went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Kings, who have always had an acquired taste for Kentucky players going back to Demarcus Cousins, gave Gabriel a chance to compete in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Wenyen impressed in sparse minutes in the Summer League, enough so to warrant a training camp invite in Sacramento. In the preseason he continued to play and play well. After struggling for minutes to contribute in two years at Kentucky, Gabriel has made an NBA roster on his first try. An exemplary model of what happens when you continue to work and can take control of an opportunity.

Two-way contracts entail that the players who sign have a maximum of 45 total days with the NBA team, and spend the rest of the season in the G-League. Gabriel is expected to play a big role with the Stockton Kings, where his perimeter jumper and newfound physicality will be further utilized.

You’ll occasionally see Gabriel get some NBA minutes in an occasional Kings blowout (likely to happen more than a few times this season), in which he’ll join former teammate De’Aaron Fox along with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere on Sacramento’s roster.

Another one of Gabriel’s former teammates has also made an NBA roster, with the Orlando Magic having Isaiah Briscoe on their final roster heading into the season. Briscoe spent a full season overseas learning to mature his game after going undrafted in 2017, and signed a two-year deal with Orlando heading into last year’s Summer League.

It’s great to see these two former Cats getting to live out their NBA dreams.