Herd’s Gabriel joins the Los Angeles Lakers

Jacob Link, Co-Sports Editor

The Los Angeles Lakers signed Wisconsin Herd forward Wenyen Gabriel to a two-way contract on March 2, the fourth NBA team that has signed Gabriel this season.

A Two-way contract means that Gabrielle can play on both the Lakers and their G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers.

The 6’-9’’ forward played in eight games this season for the Herd, the NBA G League affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks, and averaged 16.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Gabriel, from South Sudan, has had eight double-doubles and five 20+ point games this year in the G League.

  Gabriel said that moving up and down between the NBA and G League is part of the G League experience.

 “We get called down here so we can get called back up to the NBA,” Gabriel said. “I think it’s great that a lot of our guys got the opportunity to play in the NBA this season.”

Gabriel was signed to 10-day contracts with the Brooklyn Nets, the Los Angeles Clippers and, most recently, the New Orleans Pelicans this season. He appeared in six NBA games with the Clippers, averaging 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 7.7 minutes per game.

“Moving up to the NBA also opens up a lot of opportunities for people down here [in the G league], and much of the game is about opportunities,” Gabriel said. “I think just being up and down and being ready for whatever the game throws at you is important.”

The former five-star recruit played at the University of Kentucky for two seasons, averaging 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in his sophomore season. Gabriel led the team in blocks with 40, as the Wildcats made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.

The Herd acquired former G League MVP Frank Mason III and a first-round pick in the 2022 NBA G League Draft from the South Bay Lakers in a separate deal on Feb. 24. The Herd sent Tremont Waters and a second-round pick for the 2022 draft to South Bay in the trade.

Mason III played for the Herd and the Bucks under a Two-way contract during the 2019-20 G League season, winning the MVP award. He averaged a G League high 26.4 points in 23 games that season, leading Herd to a G League best 33-10 record before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mason III appeared in seven games with South Bay, averaging 9.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.

He is a former National Player of the Year at the University of Kansas, where he averaged 20.9 points in his senior season with the Jayhawks. Mason III grew up in Petersburg, Virginia, where he earned the nickname “The Phenom” from the locals.

The Herd will be back at home on March 13 where they will take on the Maine Celtics at the Oshkosh Arena at 2:30.