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UK Basketball: John Calipari comments on Wenyen Gabriel NBA Draft decision

Calipari would like to keep coaching Gabriel.

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

Another day, another player declaring for the NBA Draft.

This time, it’s Wenyen Gabriel, who announced his decision to enter the draft on Wednesday. However, Gabriel will not hire an agent right away, so it’s possible he returns to UK for his junior season.

Right after Gabriel made the announcement, head coach John Calipari released a statement of support.

While it’s clear Calipari hopes to keep coaching Gabriel, he completely understands if Gabriel is ready to pursue a professional career.

“Wenyen knows how much I would like to coach him another year, but I also understand the situation he’s in and his desire to pursue his dreams,” Calipari said. “The great part about this process is Wenyen will know firsthand where he stands with the NBA.

“If it’s his time and he can continue on the path that he went on this year, he becomes a valuable asset for a team because of his energy, his willingness to do anything to win and his ability to stretch the floor.

“If he needs to return to school, we will continue to push him to be the best version of himself as we try to chase a championship next season. It’s a win-win for him, and he has my full support.”

Gabriel actually joins fellow forward PJ Washington as players testing the draft waters without hiring an agent. I think there’s a chance Gabriel is waiting to see what Washington does before making a final decision.

If Washington leaves, that will make it easier for Gabriel to start and make a major impact next season while boosting his stock. But if Washington returns, it becomes harder for Gabriel to accomplish those.

Either way, we could still got about another month before we get a final word. The NCAA deadline to withdraw from the NBA Draft is May 30th. I think at least one of Washington and Gabriel could push their decision all the way to the deadline.