GARDEN GROVE, Calif – Wenyen Gabriel took the summer AAU circuit by storm and he didn’t slow down playing for Team Africa at the recent adidas Nations tournament.
Prior to beginning play in this tourney, one of the final events of the summer, Gabriel received a scholarship offer from Roy Williams.
“First, I spoke with an assistant,” noted Gabriel. “Coach Williams was at a wedding in the mountains so he couldn’t talk for awhile which is why it wasn’t right after the live period. He said he was excited about me and likes the way I play and wants me to come to UNC.”
Throughout the summer, Gabriel’s stock continued to rise. The 6-9 stretch forward averaged 17.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game at the adidas Uprising tournament in Las Vegas where he led his Mass Rivals AAU team to the championship game.
While at adidas Nations, Gabriel averaged 17.7 points and 14.7 rebounds but started the camp with some eye-opening numbers. In his first game, Gabriel put together a 25-point, 12-rebound performance and then added two more double-doubles with a 26-point, 23-rebound game and a 23-point, 20-rebound game against two of the U.S. teams.
“I’m exhausted,” said Gabriel. “My body is not where my mind is. I’m trying to go but sometimes my body is saying no. After this, I’ve gotta play in the Big Strick Classic in New York and then I’ll rest for a lot, but then in August I will get back in the gym for at least two weeks before school.”
Entering his senior season at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, Gabriel knows that he still has a tremendous amount of upside to realize.
“Right now I don’t have a set position,” said Gabriel. “I would like to hopefully develop myself into more of a wing player for the long term. I’ve progressed each year, gotten a little better and added something new each year. Last year in high school I played mostly on the inside and worked on my inside game. Being able to play AAU with [Mass Rivals coach) Vin [Pastore] over the last two years, he let me develop in every part of my game by playing on the perimeter, face-up, all that. Now this is my last year and I was able to put it all together. Going forward I still have a lot to add to my game.
“My strengths are my nose for the ball and my rebounding. My motor. That’s what got me here. Everything else is an extra add on to my game. As for my weaknesses, ball-handling and putting on weight. When I go to college I want to be college ready. Eat more and get in the weight room.”
With his high motor and tantalizing skill-set, Gabriel recently picked up offers from schools such as Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas to go along with previous offers from schools such as Maryland, Texas, Arizona, Notre Dame, and UConn.
“Sometime in the next month I’ll start to narrow it down,” said Gabriel. “I’ll talk with my older brother and Coach Vin.
As for UNC, Gabriel noted, “I’ve seen them a lot. I know they are a good program. Well have to see if I take a visit there and if I like it.”
Gabriel Earns UNC Offer Amid Rapid Rise
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