You can install Gnome the same way as on Arch, with individual packages, you don't have to use the gnome-core package. A simple
apt-cache depends gnome-core
will show you what the gnome-core package installs, just choose from that what you need and leave out the rest. To start the X environment (which of course has to be installed) you can either use startx (part of the xinit package) or you install a display manager, like gdm, slim, xdm, nodm, ..., so that the system starts in GUI mode by default.