Another one of New Hampshire's best local basketball prospects is leaving the NHIAA for prep school. Wenyen Gabriel had a huge junior season this past winter at Trinity High. He was a double-double machine, was selected to the Division I all-state team and led Trinity to the D-I Final Four. But the 6-foot-7 wing / forward has decided to transfer from Trinity to Wilbraham & Monson Academy, where he will repeat his junior year and reclassify to the Class of 2016.
"Deciding to go to Wilbraham & Monson was an easy choice" Gabriel told the NH Notebook on Tuesday. "During my visit to WMA I felt really comfortable there and welcome. I liked the campus and the they have a really nice athletic facility. I spoke with the coach and I feel that his way of coaching will really help me reach my potential."
Wilbraham & Monson competes in the New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC), which is widely regarded as the most competitive prep school basketball league in the country. It is located in Wilbraham, MA.
"I was looking at Brimmer & May and Cushing Academy as well" Gabriel explained. "Both of those other schools were great schools as well. Cushing was really nice and they showed much interest. It would have been a great experience to play with Jalen Adams at Cushing. Brimmer & May showed much interest as well. They have a great coach, Tom Nelson, but ultimately I felt that I would best fit at WMA."
Now that this big decision is behind him, Gabriel is looking forward to a big AAU season with the Rivals Basketball Club. Former Rivals player Noah Vonleh (Haverhill, MA) just recently declared for the NBA Draft, and another former Rivals, Kaleb Joseph (Nashua, NH) is headed off to Syracuse.
"I hope to do a lot of developing next year in the Class of 2016" said Gabriel, whose older sister Karima Gabriel plays at Boston College. "I feel like a reclass would be very helpful for me to build on my thin frame and become more able athletically. I feel like that will help my recruitment drastically. Playing for Rivals must have been one of the best decisions I've made recently. We train almost everyday and work hard. There are tons of great coaches in the program and they create the atmosphere needed to move forward in your game. Coach Vin Pastore is a very good person and has already helped me so much. He helped me with getting into prep school and has helped me get in a position where I can be seen and hopefully get a scholarship to college."
Gabriel is an intriguing prospect with a ton of potential. He is very quick and explosive for a 6'7" kid, he runs the floor, finishes well on the break, and is extremely active inside attacking the rim and crashing the offensive boards. He can put the ball on the floor, step out and hit the 3 or even lead the break. Gabriel is also a lethal shot blocker. Now that he is reclassifying and will be playing against tougher competition at prep school, if Gabriel can get bigger and keep working on his skill set he definitely has a shot to achieve his goal of s scholarship.
"This AAU season I'm really looking forward to going on the Adidas circuit this summer and spring" Gabriel concluded. "We do much traveling during the live period and I hope to get some looks and put my name out there. We are going to Dallas soon and that will be an opportunity for me to get looked at. I'm really excited for what's ahead for me from now on and I've been doing everything I can to be best prepared. Lots of hours in the gym with coaches from the whole program and getting shots up on my free time."
Trinity's loss is Wilbraham & Monson's gain. This best is yet to come for Gabriel.