Wenyen Gabriel inks deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv

Maccabi Tel Aviv signed big man Wenyen Gabriel to a one-year contract with an option for an additional year. The 27 year-old, who stands 2.06 M (6 ft 9 in), joins the Israeli champions after spending four years in the NBA, primarily with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Gabriel is a player with NBA experience, with diverse abilities and a big upside,” explained head coach Oded Kattash. “He’s a player who plays the 5 who can also play away from the paint, knows how to finish near the rim and has a defensive presence. He will help us and give us a lot of energy. I am sure that the connection to the crowd will be quick and that the fans will enjoy a lot.”

“I’m super excited and thankful to join the historical Maccabi organization,” Gabriel told the club’s official website. “I can’t wait to bring my passion to Tel Aviv and to the Euroleague and meeting the famous fan base. I can tell you that I feel at home wearing the yellow-and-blue jersey. Let’s go Maccabi!”

Wenyen Gabriel was born in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, on March 26th, 1997. With a bloody civil war ravaging in the country, his mother was able to escape with Wenyen and his three brothers to Cairo, Egypt – when he was just two weeks old. Two years later, the family was granted entry into the USA as refugees, but it was only in 2017 when the family received American citizenship.

Wenyen Gabriel – Photo credit: FIBA


Gabriel grew and studied in New Hampshire and Massachusetts and after starring in high school and earning the attention of numerous colleges, he opted to join the University of Kentucky’s renowned program. Gabriel featured for the Wildcats for two seasons, showcasing his athleticism and feel for the game. After turning pro, he was signed by the Sacramento Kings.
During his four seasons in the NBA, Gabriel also played for Portland, New Orleans, Brooklyn, Memphis, the Clippers and the aforementioned Lakers. With the purple-and-gold, the big man carved out a role for himself alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, playing over 15 minutes per game in 98 appearances. In between, he also played in the G-League.

Gabriel finished last season in Puerto Rico with Vaqueros de Bayamon, where he contributed 13 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. He also proudly wears the uniform of the South Sudan national team, being crowned the top shot-blocker of the 2023 FIBA World Cup and is now gearing up to represent the nation in the Olympic Games.

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