In Last 48 Hours, Wenyen Gabriel Talked to Coach K, Calipari and Slew of High-Major Coaches | Zagsblog
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Sunday / September 25.
  • In Last 48 Hours, Wenyen Gabriel Talked to Coach K, Calipari and Slew of High-Major Coaches

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    NEW YORK — In the past 48 hours, Wenyen Gabriel has spoken to Kentucky coach John Calipari, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Maryland’s Mark Turgeon, UConn’s Kevin Ollie and Notre Dame’s Mike Brey.

    That will happen when you’re a 6-foot-10, 195-pound forward with a ceiling as high as the Sistine Chapel.

    “I spoke with Coach K [Thursday],” Gabriel, a native of the Sudan who arrived in the U.S. at the age of 3 and now lives in Manchester, N.H., said Friday at Big Strick Classic practice at the Gauchos Gym. “I talked to Calipari [Friday] morning. I talked to Coach Turgeon from Maryland [Friday] morning. I talked to Coach Brey from Notre Dame and Coach Ollie from UConn. They sent a few texts.”

    Based off of his breakout summer, Gabriel, who attends Wilbraham & Monson (MA), added offers from Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and Arizona along with those from Maryland, UConn, Providence, Notre Dame, Texas, Auburn and Miami, among others.

    He listed Kentucky, Duke, Maryland, Notre Dame, UConn and Texas as those showing the most serious interest.

    “It was exciting,” he said. “There was a lot of attention coming to me more and I just try to take it slow and see which schools are really on me recruiting.”

    Gabriel broke down what he likes about several of those schools:

    Kentucky: “We [me and Calipari] talk a lot. He’s one of the few schools that would like me to play on the wing. Since he can bring in a lot of big guys, he can allow me to do that so that’s kind of appealing.”

    Duke: “Coach K says Duke is a great fit for me. He really wants me to come come down. He says once I get the feel for the campus I’ll have a better idea what he’s talking about.”

    He added: “A lot of people think since I liked Duke [growing up], I was going to go to Duke but that’s not the case. I’m still looking for what’s best for me.”

    Maryland: “I like their style of play. I like the whole atmosphere there, it’s kind of nice.”

    UConn: “I think it’s cool [that they play small forwards at the four spot] because at the next level they’re able to translate that and play the three. A lot of schools have been doing that. A lot of schools say that they can play you at the four but I don’t know if they want you to stay at the four all year. That’s going to play a role.”

    Wherever he goes, Gabriel would like to play on the wing.

    “I’ll be able to develop my perimeter skills more,” he said. “Being on the wing is big for me so that’s where I see myself translating in the NBA. I see myself more at the small forward. Obviously, I’m not going to put on that much weight in one year to become a real power forward. I’ve always wanted to play on the wing so I’ve always worked on my guard skills, so that’s going to play a big role in my decision as well. I won’t be able to go into the NBA as a four.”

    Mass Rivals coach Vin Pastore believes Gabriel has a huge upside.

    “The change for Wenyen has been the 20 pounds he has put on in one year,” he said. “I think one year from now I’ll expect he’ll have 20 more pounds. He’s got another 20 pounds to go and that’s going to make all the difference.

    “When you get a kid that’s 6-10 with his skill set and his motor, it’s inevitable that he’s got a huge, huge upside.”

    Pastore says he expects Gabriel will cut his list sometime after the Under Armor Elite 24 game Aug. 22 in Brooklyn.

    “He’s going to have to sit down and make some hard choices and pick up the telephone and make some calls to some places that he’s not going to pursue,” he said. “I hope he’s enjoying this part because the next part is stressful and I wouldn’t want to have to do it.

    “But he’s going to have to man up and do it. That’s part of growing up, too.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.