Wilbraham & Monson Academy (Wilbraham, Mass.) power forward Wenyen Gabriel made a name for himself during the most recent live period, earning several high-major offers and shooting up the national rankings lists as well. The 6-foot-9, 195-pounder just added scholarships from Miami and Vanderbilt, and now claims double-digit verbals from the likes of Maryland, Rice, Uconn, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Providence, UVA, UMass, DePaul, Boston College, St. Bonaventure and New Hampshire.
“This is all very exciting for me, and it was exciting to see my ranking go up and more schools start to notice me,” said Gabriel, whose Mass Rivals AAU squad competed in events in Indianapolis, Ind. and Dallas, Texas. “I feel like I established myself as a perimeter player through the first two live periods. That was my first time really stepping out and getting used to [shooting from range], so now I’m going to keep working on it to add that dimension to my game. Besides that, I feel like I played good defense, rebounded well and just played pretty well in general. But there’s a lot more I can do; I feel like I need to shoot it better and just get better all-around.”
Of his two new offers, he said the Hurricanes stood out. In fact, Gabriel just visited Miami in early June.
“Miami was a big one, and I was just down there to see the school with my cousin, who lives in the area,” Gabriel said. “I didn’t get a chance to meet the coaches or anything, but I walked around campus and saw the school. I thought it was beautiful and I love the weather in Miami. I’m trying to get back there so I can meet everyone and just learn more about them.”
Next up for Gabriel is a trip to Storrs, Conn., to check out the Huskies. He’s already seen nearby Providence and Boston College, two of his initial suitors, but said he “definitely” needs to get over to Uconn as well since it’s close to home.
“I think my Mass Rivals team is actually going up to Uconn as a team, but I definitely want to get up there in June,” Gabriel said. “Before the July live period I’m definitely getting there, because that’s one of the bigger offers I have and the coaches have stayed in touch with me.”
Speaking of coaches “staying in touch,” Gabriel said the staffs making the most potent push for him right now are Providence and Maryland.
“Providence is really interested. They really want me there and I talk to the recruiter there a lot, and he’s a real good person. Providence has been after me forever,” Gabriel said. “And Maryland, they’re on me hard and have been for a couple months now. I got the offer from them back in April, and since then Coach Bino [Ranson] and Coach [Mark] Turgeon have been telling me they really want me and think I’d be a great fit. Nothing has really changed with Maryland; they really like me and I like them too.”
Gabriel has known Ranson since last year, the Terps’ assistant visiting Wilbraham & Monson twice before watching him play multiple times during the live period. The power forward said he and Ranson talk “all the time,” and he appreciated how “he always believed in me and pushed for an offer.”
“Coach Bino, he’s great. I have one of my best relationships with him. He’s easy to talk to and he really wants me at Maryland,” Gabriel said. “He was telling me how much he likes my game and potential and thinks I should be ranked higher.
“And Coach Turgeon, we’ve spoken a few times, and I really like him too. He likes how I can guard at all three levels and how versatile I am on offense. He thinks I can really help [the Terps].”
The New Hampshire native was supposed to visit College Park, Md., for the first time in June, but that trip, along with several others (besides Uconn), has been put on hold. Now, Gabriel plans to check out UMD in August, following the last live period.
“The coaches have been pushing for me to visit, and I definitely want to check out Maryland,” Gabriel said. “Like I said, they’re recruiting me hard and I’m really interested in them. I actually used to work out with one of their [former] players, Evan Smotrycz, who played for Mass Rivals, and he said I definitely have to get down there. So I’m definitely going to visit. I just couldn’t do it in June, because I’m busy with practice and workouts.”
Gabriel went on to call UMD’s latest additions of five-star center Diamond Stone (Dominican/Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) and transfer Rasheed Sulaimon “really impressive,” noting how he’ll be watching the Terps closely this season.
“I really like what they’re doing at Maryland. I don’t think it really changes anything with me, but I do think Maryland is going to be really good,” Gabriel said. “I’m going to be watching them as much as I can.”
While Gabriel admitted the Terps are on the brain, he’s claiming no early leaders or favorites. He said his recruitment is very much open, and he’ll know more following several trips this summer and fall.
“I’m trying not to get my head too much into recruiting since I’m still in AAU ball and working on my game. So after that I’ll sit down and start planning out visits and officials,” Gabriel said. “I want to see as many schools that have offered me as possible.”
Gabriel, who will participate in AAU events in Las Vegas, Atlanta, Ga., and New York this July, said his goal is to have his college decision made following those fall official visits. He wants to sign by the early period in November.
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