As usual, there is speculation surrounding just about every member of Kentucky basketball's rotation with regard to the NBA Draft. Three Kentucky stars have already elected to enter the NBA Draft. Today, forward Nick Richards reportedly decided to come back. Now, we have an update on sophomore Wenyen Gabriel, though he has denied it.
Gabriel played just over 23 minutes per game for the Wildcats this season. He averaged 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
That doesn't sound like the profile of a potential NBA Draft pick. However, Gabriel has NBA size, and shot just under 40-percent from three point range.
He also came along late in the season. Gabriel exploded for 23 points in the SEC Tournament semifinal against Alabama, knocking down all seven of his three-point attempts.
He scored 12 points vs. Tennessee in the conference title game, and 16 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Buffalo. He was very quiet against Davidson and Kansas State in UK's other two NCAA Tournament games however.
This evening, the Lexington Herald-Leader put out a new report on Wenyen Gabriel's upcoming NBA Draft decision.
In it, Jerry Tipton quote Gabriel's brother Komot Gabriel, who said that if he receives a first-round projection, he will probably go. From the report:
“The reason to think about it is if he’s going to get drafted high enough,” older brother Komot Gabriel said. “If that’s not the case, you’re looking for something that’s guaranteed. And if that’s not the case, then he doesn’t want to risk that.”
If projected as a first-round pick, Gabriel would probably enter the draft, his brother said. If not projected as a first-round pick, he would return to UK. A decision is likely by the middle of next week, Komot Gabriel said.
That would indicate Gabriel entering the NBA Draft without hiring an agent, which is what Washington is doing. However, Gabriel himself threw a wrench in the report.
Responding to Kentucky Sports Radio's write-up of the report, Gabriel issued a pretty stern denial in the former of an all-caps tweet reading "FALSE."
Obviously there could be a misunderstanding between Wenyen Gabriel and his brother, or Gabriel is only denying one part of what has been reported. Either way, we should find out soon.