NBA Draft: Kenny Gabriel is Flying High
Kenny Gabriel is trying to break into the second round of the NBA Draft. (warblogle.com)
By Michael Scotto
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The 2012 NBA Draft class is filled with youth and depth, but lacks talent at the small forward position. There is a prospect hoping to climb his way up NBA Draft boards to the second round and fill that small forward need. Auburn Tiger graduate Kenny Gabriel is an explosive 6-foot-8 small forward hoping to take his dunking highlights to the pro level.
Gabriel has worked out for the Washington Wizards and has three more NBA team workouts scheduled, as of now, in the near future.
I caught up with Gabriel for an exclusive interview to discuss his college development at Auburn, the NBA Draft process, and what the future holds for one of the draft's rare senior small forward prospects.
Gabriel praised Auburn for helping him grow both on and off the court during his time in college as he prepares for the real world.
"The top thing would be (dealing with) adversity because it's going to come in the classroom and on the court. How you deal with it will determine the player and person you are going to be in life," said Gabriel.
The man who helped Gabriel deal with that adversity the best was Auburn head coach Tony Barbee.
"Coach Barbee pushed me to my limits every single day whether it was shoot around, practice, or film. He always pushed me so I can become a great player," said Gabriel. "Coach Barbee and his staff were always willing to help me on the offense and defensive end of the court. Right after any mistake I made, I knew exactly what they were going to say to me. I think they helped me advance my game in one way or another every single day."
It all came together for Gabriel during his senior season at Auburn as the small forward put up career-highs across the board in nearly every statistical category. Gabriel credited renewed motivation and his teammates support for the career-high statistical year.
Gabriel also credited his experience playing in the SEC culminating in his improved senior season that has put him position to continue his basketball career beyond college.
"Once the SEC play starts you don't have any nights off. You have to bring you're 'A' game every single night or you will get embarrassed. Playing in the SEC also taught me that using my quickness and out thinking my opponents helps," said Gabriel.
With his time in the SEC over Gabriel is now focused on continuing the next chapter of his basketball career. Gabriel has worked out for the Washington Wizards and has three more team workouts coming up in the near future.
Gabriel knows these tryouts are a make or break chance to impress NBA executives.
"I'm going into workouts focused with a great and positive mind set so my dream can come true. My goal is to just leave it all out there on the court after each workout so I can't tell myself I should have put in a little more effort here or there," said Gabriel.
During these workouts Gabriel also has a message for NBA executives that will decide if his future will be in the NBA or begin in the NBA D-league or overseas.
"I am willing to play on any team in the NBA, doing anything and everything I can to make positive contributions to that organization on and off the court," said Gabriel. "I think that I could bring a lot of energy to any team that I go to! I also can shoot the ball really well! I am a competitor, I love to win, and I want to help bring an NBA Championship to any team that is willing to take me!"
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