Gabriel Headed To The WAC

Chris Gabriel was receiving interest from a host of schools along the west coast and on Monday he picked one. The 6-foot-10 big man will play his college ball in the WAC.

Marvin Menzies and is his New Mexico State staff picked up their second verbal commitment for the class of 2008 when Chris Gabriel, of San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) Junipero Serra, committed Monday evening.

"I think it came down to a multitude of things," Junipero Serra coach Tom Lewis said. "Number one is the caliber of players they have. He said he was very impressed with their talent level, which he felt would help him grow as a player."

"Also the coaching staff, I think he really enjoyed them. I think he was also impressed with their strength and weight training facility. I guess they have a huge 18-thousand square foot weight room facility."

The 6-foot-10, 270-pound big man built a great relationship with coach Menzies and that played a major role in his decision as well.

"He knows him very well. He's very comfortable with him. I think it came down to when he went for his visit he felt like [Marvin Menzies] was a good fit for him. He felt comfortable with Coach Menzies and he wanted to make sure he was comfortable."

Gabriel made his way to the United State two years ago. He didn't start playing organized basketball until his arrival and that's one of the reasons his high school coach thinks he'll have a successful college career.

"The big thing he has is a huge upside because he's only played organized basketball for a year and a half. Each month he improves at a very fast rate because his IQ and knowledge of the game is increasing."

Gabriel picked New Mexico State over interest from San Diego State, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Pacific, Colorado State and St. Mary's.


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