It’s been quite an eventful few days for Wenyen Gabriel,the 6-foot-10, 195-pound forward from Wilbraham & Monson.
In the past two days, he’s had school and home visits with Kentucky coach John Calipari, UConn’s Kevin Ollie, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Maryland’s Mark Turgeon and Providence’s Ed Cooley.
On Friday, he takes off first thing in the morning for an official visit to Maryland, which is red hot coming off the commitment this past week of point guard Kevin Huerter.
Gabriel met Thursday morning with Calipari, who was headed to Springfield, Mass., for his Hall of Fame induction on Friday.
Later Thursday, he met with UConn’s Ollie, who won an NCAA title with the Huskies in his first year as head coach in 2014.
“Cal stresses that their relationship will last a lifetime,” Wilbraham & Monson coach Mike Mannix told SNY.tv. “Obviously, he talks about the path to the NBA and beyond.
“Coach Ollie talks about his success developing guards and how UConn is a family.
“Both had great approaches, different from one another, but very good.”
Mannix wasn’t involved in the home visits at Gabriel’s New Hampshire home with Duke, Maryland and Providence.
After Maryland, Gabriel will visit Kentucky (Sept. 25-27) and Duke (Oct. 16-18). No dates are set for UConn or Providence yet.
Last month at the Big Strick, Gabriel broke down what he likes about all five:
Kentucky: “We [me and John Calipari] talk a lot. He’s one of the few schools that would like me to play on the wing. Since he can bring in a lot of big guys, he can allow me to do that so that’s kind of appealing.”
Duke: “Coach K says Duke is a great fit for me. He really wants me to come come down. He says once I get the feel for the campus I’ll have a better idea what he’s talking about.”
He added: “A lot of people think since I liked Duke [growing up], I was going to go to Duke but that’s not the case. I’m still looking for what’s best for me.”
Maryland: “I like their style of play. I like the whole atmosphere there, it’s kind of nice.”
UConn: “I think it’s cool [that they play small forwards at the four spot] because at the next level they’re able to translate that and play the three. A lot of schools have been doing that. A lot of schools say that they can play you at the four but I don’t know if they want you to stay at the four all year. That’s going to play a role.”
Providence: “I have a great relationship with Coach [Ed] Cooley as Providence was my first major offer. Providence also provides a great opportunity for me to have a significant impact from the beginning.”
Wherever he goes, Gabriel would like to play on the wing.
“I’ll be able to develop my perimeter skills more,” he said. “Being on the wing is big for me so that’s where I see myself translating in the NBA. I see myself more at the small forward. Obviously, I’m not going to put on that much weight in one year to become a real power forward. I’ve always wanted to play on the wing so I’ve always worked on my guard skills, so that’s going to play a big role in my decision as well. I won’t be able to go into the NBA as a four.”
Mass Rivals coach Vin Pastore believes Gabriel has a huge upside.
“The change for Wenyen has been the 20 pounds he has put on in one year,” he said. “I think one year from now I’ll expect he’ll have 20 more pounds. He’s got another 20 pounds to go and that’s going to make all the difference.
“When you get a kid that’s 6-10 with his skill set and his motor, it’s inevitable that he’s got a huge, huge upside.”
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