clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UK Basketball: Wenyen Gabriel enjoying the NBA Draft Process

Time is running out until Gabriel has to make a difficult decision, but he’s enjoying the process.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament Championship-Tennessee vs Kentucky Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Wenyen Gabriel isn’t a household name among NBA scouts and executives.

But that didn’t stop him from declaring for the NBA Draft, without an agent, and going through the process, gaining feedback and preparing to make a decision on whether to return to Lexington for a junior year (and graduate) or leave in an effort to carve out a professional career, either in the NBA, the G-League, or somewhere overseas.

Gabriel recently spoke to the media following a workout with the Sacramento Kings, an organization with a recent history of selecting Kentucky players, like De’Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere, and DeMarcus Cousins (before he was traded to New Orleans), just to name a few.

While he isn’t projected to be drafted by any mock drafts, Gabriel’s workout with the Kings was the 5th team workout he has had. The Kings join Oklahoma City, Utah, Milwaukee, and Brooklyn as teams that have hosted the 6’9 lengthy forward.

The Kings hold the 36 overall pick, the Nets have picks at 40 and 45, the Jazz hold the 52nd overall pick near the end of the draft, the Thunder do not have first-round picks but have two second-round picks at 53 and 57, and Milwaukee holds only the 17th overall pick in the draft.

Gabriel could slot in as one of those late second-rounders, but that isn’t projected by many analysts.

Still, he is enjoying the process as he tries to decide which path to take for his future.

“It’s just been great,” he told reporters. “You get to compete against a bunch of different talent and evaluate and see where you’re at. You see the things you need to work on. You get a lot of feedback...

Always have fun. Every day. It’s all in how you think about it. You go in here with a positive mentality, having fun, play your heart out and everything else comes with it.”

Gabriel certainly could be a valuable piece at Kentucky next year as a forward that can stretch the floor and rebound, while providing plenty of energy and hustle, as well as being a somewhat rare upperclassmen on a team that will be predominantly freshmen and sophomores.

But Gabriel’s situation is unique, and he could be in a situation where he needs to become a professional.

It will obviously be a tough decision for him, but we will know something by May 30, whether he will return or leave.

We will wish him the best of luck, whatever path he takes.

And be sure to go ‘like’ our Facebook page and follow our Twitter page for more Kentucky Wildcats News.