Kentucky Basketball: An improved Wenyen Gabriel is huge for the Wildcats


Wenyen Gabriel was a bit disappointing in his debut season. Is the former five star forward ready to contribute in his sophomore campaign?

According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, he’s heard that Wenyen Gabriel has been the best player for the Wildcats this summer. This comes as a bit of a surprise seeming that Gabriel endured some  tough struggles last season. With the 2017 Kentucky Basketball recruiting class loaded with talent, it was looking like Gabriel may take a backseat to some of the new guys. Luckily, things like this give hopes to Wildcat fans that Gabriel has improved.

Wenyen is a player that is easy to like. He works hard and has the skills to score from everywhere on the court. Defensively he was quite the liability, which is part of the reason why he saw a decrease in minutes during his freshman season. Not all of Calipari’s highly rated recruits turn out to be one and done. Guys like the Harrison twins, Tyler Ulis, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Alex Poythress are just a couple of examples.

Frontcourt Depth

When it comes to Gabriel, he possesses some instinctive abilities that could help him become a great defender at the collegiate level. Kentucky will need that athleticism next season to build depth in the front court. Nick Richards doesn’t seem like the rim runner that Kentucky is used to. In addition to Richards, PJ Washington and Jarred Vanderbilt will be asked to hold down the fort.

In order for Kentucky to reach their higher goals, the Wildcats will need Wenyen Gabriel. Also, Gabriel may just be the spark that Kentucky needs to push this team over the edge. If the reports that Rothstein have heard are true, then Kentucky will be sitting in pretty good shape this season. John Calipari needs the length and shot blocking ability that Wenyen could provide to do the things he wants to do.

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An improved Gabriel means a number of things for Kentucky Basketball. First of all, any defensive presence that can be put on the floor is a plus. Also if Wenyen has improved his off the ball and post defense, the Wildcats will win a lot of games. Gabriel may not be a consistent scorer, but he could provide ample amounts of energy to the floor. With the team the John Calipari has assembled, an elite group of freshmen yet again. He will need the experience and leadership that an improved Wenyen Gabriel could provide.