Wenyen Gabriel is heading to the bluegrass of Kentucky for the next chapter of his basketball journey, but he always will represent his home state of New Hampshire and New England.
Gabriel, a 6-10 forward from Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Massachusetts, is the lone player from the region selected to the Jordan Brand Classic. (Villanova signee Omari Spellman plays for St. Thomas More in Connecticut, but is originally from Ohio.)
Gabriel’s selection became official Thursday during the Jordan Brand Classic Senior Night presented by American Family Insurance. The presentation also recognized the family, friends and the community. Gabriel received a framed picture and a banner for the school gym.
“It makes me feel special that I’m doing something good for the area, giving hope to some kids,” Gabriel said, according to MassLive.com. “There’s another kid in my city coming up, and it just shows him that you can do it too.”
A week before the Jordan Classic, Gabriel — ranked No. 15 by ESPN.com — will take part in the Nike Hoop Classic in Portland as a member of Team USA. The Jordan Classic is April 15 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Gabriel will be joined by three other Kentucky signees in Brooklyn and will be a teammate of Malik Monk, from Bentonville, Ark.
“It’s just an honor,” Gabriel told MassLive.com. “It shows my hard work really paid off. It’s just another chance to prove myself. I still feel like I need to prove a lot. It’s a good chance to get better. But to be honored by Jordan is great. It’s not an opportunity a lot of people get.”