Gabriel to compete in summer league

Published 3:15 pm Saturday, June 30, 2018

LEXINGTON (KT) — Wenyen Gabriel wasn’t among the players selected in last week’s NBA Draft, but the former Kentucky forward will get a chance to impress teams during the NBA Summer League, which tips off Monday in Sacramento and Utah.

Gabriel will suit up for the Sacramento Kings and play alongside former teammate De’Aaron Fox, who also will compete in the annual event. Another former Kentucky player — Bam Adebayo — also will play in the league as a member of the Miami Heat squad. Four franchises will play in a round-robin competition at Sacramento, with each team playing each other twice. Sacramento, Miami, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors will be part of the Sacramento pod. The NBA Summer League, set for July 6-17 in Las Vegas, will feature all 30 teams in the league.

Gabriel averaged 9.9 points and 5.5 rebounds during the final eight games and made seven 3-pointers on all seven attempts in the Southeastern Conference Tournament, setting a school and tournament record for most consecutive 3-pointers made without a miss. During the season, the 6-foot-9 forward averaged 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last year. He also made 42 treys and blocked 40 shots.

Prior to the draft, Kentucky coach John Calipari said Gabriel was “adamant” about keeping his name in the draft instead of coming back for one more season.

“At that point, my shift is, ‘OK, how do I help?’ ” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “If someone could get him in that late second round, that’s a steal in my mind. … He’s probably going to have to go through the G League and figure out, ‘I gotta get stronger’ and all those things.”

Calipari looks for Gabriel to turn some heads this summer.

“A couple of the teams he worked out for really liked him, and the reason is he’s 6-10 and he can really shoot, and that’s kind of where the league is going,” Calipari said. “Now, physically, he’s got to get stronger. In an NBA environment, I think within a year, I think you would see someone who is 6-10, can physically battle and can really shoot it. Right now, the physical part is a little tougher for him.”

As a rookie, Fox played in 73 games and started all but 13 of those contests last year. He averaged 11.6 points and 4.4 assists an outing and scored double figures in 48 games and collected 10 assists four different times. He tallied a career-high 26 points against the San Antonio Spurs.

Adebayo averaged 6.9 points and 5.5 boards per game a year ago as a rookie.He played in 69 games, starting 19 of those contests. The former Kentucky forward had seven double-doubles and scored a career-high 18 points against Orlando and grabbed 16 boards, also a career high, against the Kings.