Wenyen Gabriel was the real MVP today

Mrs. Tyler Thompsonover 3 years

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He may not have flashy numbers like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or Kevin Knox but Wenyen Gabriel was a big reason Kentucky beat Vanderbilt today.

Gabriel finished with seven points (3-8), nine rebounds, two blocks, one assist, and one steal in 29 minutes, but his energy extended past the box score. Afterwards, John Calipari said he can’t afford to leave Wenyen off the floor for too long because most times, he’s the only guy showing consistent effort.

“Wenyen’s effort, it’s just — you’ve gotta keep him in the game,” Cal said.

The difference between freshman Wenyen and sophomore Wenyen? Confidence. On one play in the first half, he channeled Josh Harrellson when he swatted Saban Lee’s shot then saved the ball by bouncing it off Lee as he went out of bounds.

After the Texas A&M game, Calipari said PJ Washington was the only player exhibiting toughness; today, Cal said he failed to include Wenyen in that rare air.

“Wenyen was the other one,” Cal said. “He’s always done that.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander agreed.

“Wenyen was big for us today and that’s what we all expect from him, the energy he brings. He always plays 100% all of the time and does what we need to win. He did a good job today.”

Yes, he did.

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2021-09-22