The Maryland hoops staff has tapped into the renowned Mass Rivals AAU program and nearby Wilbraham & Monson Academy (Wilbraham, Mass.) before, recruiting the likes of Luis Montero, Goodluck Okonoboh and Andre Drummond, among others, although none actually ended up in College Park, Md. That’s not about to keep the Terps from exploring the school and pursuing the area’s prospects, however.
In fact, UMD area recruiter Bino Ranson, who played his college ball in New Hampshire, recently identified another emerging talent in 6-foot-9 class of 2016 forward Wenyen Gabriel.
“Maryland knows all about Wenyen,” Mass Rivals AAU coach Vin Pastore said. “They’ve heard a lot about him already from me and others in the area. They were on the road [in February and January] and saw him play, and quite frankly, they’re one of many [staffs] that like what they’ve seen.
“But Coach Bino, I’ve talked to him a lot of times over the last year or so, so he knows all about Wenyen and has seem him play. [The Terps] haven’t recruited him aggressively yet, but I expect that to change this coming offseason. Coach Bino has already started forming some relationships [with Gabriel] and has talked to him before, and I do think things will pick up [recruiting wise] with Maryland.”
Pastore went on to say that Gabriel’s interest in UMD would appear to be mutual. The Mass Rivals coach said should the Terps pursue in earnest he could easily see his developing forward trekking down to College Park and maintaining consistent contact with the staff.
“Frankly, the way Maryland plays right now, and the way they use their bigs, Wenyen is the perfect fir for what they do,” said Pastore, who mentioned that Gabriel has visited BC and Providence for games this year. “Their system fits him well. Plus Wenyen is an A-student, an honors student, and I think Maryland’s academics would interest him too. But there’s a lot of schools interested in Wenyen right now; he’s going to have a lot of choices.”
Pastore said Gabriel already holds firm offers from Providence and Boston College, while numerous others could be on the verge of anteing up. The coach called Gabriel “an automatic lock” to end up at a high-major program in college basketball’s best conferences.
“Wenyen is 6-9 and very, very skilled for a 4-man,” Pastore said. “He can shoot the long ball, he can put it on the deck as well as anyone his size and he plays with a high motor.
“And honestly, he looks a lot and plays a lot like [five-star power forward] Thon Maker (Athlete Institute Basketball Academy/Martinsville, Va.) in terms of his makeup and ability. Wenyen’s talent and potential is through the roof.”
Pastore said the main area Gabriel needs to improve is adding strength and muscle to his lithe frame. The Mass Rivals’ headman suggested the Manchester, N.H., native has the body-type to add plenty of bulk “but he’s just not there yet; he just has to strengthen up.”
“Wenyen has a chance to be a pro – he has that kind of potential,” Pastore said.
Emerging Big Gabriel On Terps' Radar
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