LEXINGTON, Ky. – Former Kentucky men’s basketball player Wenyen Gabriel (2016-17) will have an opportunity to impress NBA teams during the NBA Summer League. Gabriel, along with Bam Adebayo (2017) and De’Aaron Fox (2017), will participate in the annual NBA Summer League, which will tip off Monday with leagues in Sacramento and Utah.
Adebayo (Miami Heat) and Fox (Kings) will utilize the summer league minutes to continue to improve upon successful rookie campaigns, while Gabriel will make his professional debut.
Sacramento’s event will feature four franchises playing in a three-day, round-robin style competition with each team playing the others once. In addition to the Kings and Heat, the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors will also take part. The Utah league will follow a similar format but no former UK men’s basketball players are expected to compete.
The NBA Summer League in Las Vegas will feature all 30 teams for the first time and will take place July 6-17. Complete rosters for the Las Vegas league will be announced at a later time.
The NBA summer leagues are an important time of the year for professional players to either earn a free-agent contract, solidify their spot on an NBA roster, or develop and earn additional playing time for the NBA regular season.
Fans can access box scores, game recaps and cumulative statistics atnba.com/summer-league.
He appeared in 69 games during his rookie campaign in Miami, including making 19 starts. Adebayo averaged 6.9 points on 51.2 percent shooting from the floor, while also hauling in 5.5 rebounds per game for the Heat who advanced playoffs in his first season.
Adebayo notched seven double-doubles, including one during just his fourth professional appearance with 13 points and 13 rebounds against Minnesota in late October. He scored a career-high 18 points against Orlando in February and snared a career-best 16 boards against the Kings in March.
He made an appearance in all five playoff games for the Heat, amassing 17 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in a 3-1 series loss to Philadelphia.
Adebayo averaged 13.0 points and a team-best 8.0 rebounds per game in his lone season in Lexington. He also led the team in blocks per game (1.5) and double-doubles (eight), including five double-doubles over his last 11 games. He was a member of the All-Southeastern Conference Second Team and was also named to the All-SEC Tournament Team during his successful freshman campaign.
Playing in a guard-heavy lineup, Adebayo provided UK with its most consistent inside presence. His .599 field-goal percentage was the best among players attempting at least 100 shots for the season, and his 101 dunks on the year were more than any other Kentucky player under John Calipari.
Fox saw action in 73 games with 60 starts during his first season in Sacramento. He averaged 11.6 points, 4.4 assists, 2.8 boards and 1.0 steals per game. Fox reached double-figure scoring in 48 games and had 10 assists on four occasions. His career high of 26 points came against the Spurs in late January when he shot 53.3 percent from the field and made all six of his 3-point attempts.
He also appeared in the Rising Stars Challenge game during All-Star Weekend to highlight his rookie campaign. Fox shot 41.2 percent from the field and 30.7 percent from behind the arc. A
Fox averaged 16.7 points, 4.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals in his lone season at UK. He was one of only four freshmen in the country to average at least those numbers in all four categories.
A four-time SEC Freshman of the Week selection, Fox was named the most valuable player of the 2017 SEC Tournament after leading the Wildcats to their third consecutive title. In addition to All-SEC First Team honors by the Associated Press and the league’s coaches, Fox was named a third-team All-American by USA Today and CBS Sports.
Gabriel made huge strides in his sophomore season and played a key part in UK’s late-season run, which included the Wildcats’ fourth straight SEC Tournament title.
Over the final eight games, Gabriel averaged 9.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 3-point field goals per game. The 6-foot-9 forward became UK’s go-to 3-point threat down the stretch of the season, making 56.7 percent of his shots from behind the arc over that eight-game stretch.
Included in that late-season run was an unforgettable performance in the SEC Tournament semifinals. Gabriel made all seven of his 3-point attempts en route to 23 points. The 7-for-7 performance set UK school records and SEC Tournament records for most 3-pointers made without a miss.
He also posted 16 points and 12 rebounds vs. Buffalo in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for his first double-double of the season to go along with three 3-pointers. Gabriel had two other such games with three or more 3-pointers in 2017-18.
For the season, Gabriel averaged 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds. He made 42 3-pointers, second most on the team, on 39.6-percent shooting from behind the arc. The native of Sudan blocked a team-best 40 shots, including four games with three or more blocks. He had four games with 10 or more rebounds.
Gabriel’s freshman highlights included 23 points vs. LSU, career-high 16 rebounds vs. Auburn and three straight games in double figures in the nonconference season.
‑ GO CATS –