University of Kentucky Wildcat Wenyen Gabriel
Wenyen is a Sudanese-American on the University of Kentucky baketball team.
Gabriel was born in Khartoum, Sudan on March 26, 1997.
Because his sister – born a year earlier – had died in infancy, Gabriel was given the name “Wenyen”, which means “wipe your tears” in his native Dinka language.
Two weeks after he was born, Gabriel’s mother, Rebecca Gak, moved with him and his three siblings to Cairo, Egypt to escape the violence of the Second Sudanese Civil War.
While Gabriel’s mother worked to earn enough money to move his father, Makuac, to Cairo, his seven-year-old brother, Komot, became Gabriel’s primary care giver.
Two years after moving to Egypt, the United Nations granted an appeal to move the refugee family to Manchester, New Hampshire where a large Sudanese population resides.
Though receiving a US passport in 2015 and being picked to represent the USA Basketball Junior Nation Team, Gabriel still calls South Sudan his home.
Wenyen stands 6’9’’ tall and plays power forward. Wenyen Gabriel was a 5-star prospect who in 2016 was ranked number 14 on ESPN’s Top 100.
In October 2015, he announced his decision to enroll at the University of Kentucky. Maryland, Duke, Uconn and Providence were originally on his short list.
He made his debut for the UK Wildcats in an exhibition game on October 31, 2016 against Ckarion University, scoring nine points, two rebounds and one assist in 17 minutes coming off the bench.
As a freshman, he played in 38 games, including 23 starts, averaging 4.6 points and 4.8 rebounds in 17.8 minutes.