Tai Wynyard

Tai Wynyard: ‘I will be coming to UK in December’

Leave a comment

Tai Wynyard has confirmed that he will be enrolling at Kentucky for the spring semester.

“I’m sure I will be coming to UK in December to begin classes winter/spring semester,” Wynyard told the website VaughtsViews.com. “I’m looking forward to and excited about joining the program in December.”

The assumption has been that Wynyard will be joining the program this season, but this is the first on-the-record confirmation that I have seen.

A member of the Class of 2016, Wynyard is a native of New Zealand and will be done with his high school coursework by the end of the fall semester. It’s still unclear what role the 6-foot-10, 260 pound center will be playing for the Wildcats this season, however. Assuming Skal Labissiere makes it though the NCAA Eligibility Center unscathed, there’s a chance that Wynyard could end up being redshirted. He’s not a one-and-done talent like fellow Kiwi Steven Adams and his skill-set is similar to that of another incoming big man — Isaac Humphries — so it may not make sense to burn a season of eligibility in a year where Wynyard may not get much playing time.

Kentucky commit Tai Wynyard dances, wins MVP, leads New Zealand to gold at U18 3×3 World Championships (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Kentucky commit Tai Wynyard led New Zealand to gold at the FIBA U18 3×3 World Championships this week. The Class of 2016 big man was named MVP of the event as the Tall Blacks defeated Argentina in the title game.

The men’s team also got the chance to do its famed traditional haka dance before games. New Zealand went 8-1 in the event and won eight consecutive games after losing its opener to France.

UCLA commit Kobe Paras won the dunk contest representing the Philippines.

(Video H/T: Anh Tuan Tran)

Kentucky lands commitment from international Class of 2016 big man

4 Comments

Kentucky picked up a big commitment on Sunday afternoon as New Zealand native and Class of 2016 big man Tai Wynyard committed to the Wildcats. The news of Wynyard’s commitment was first reported by Evan Daniels of Scout.com.

The 6-foot-9, 230-pound Wynyard visited Kentucky, Texas and Villanova earlier in January and was offered a scholarship by Kentucky.

Wynyard is currently 16 years old, and a member of the 2016 class, but there are rumors that he could join the 2015 class. Kentucky doesn’t have a commitment in the 2016 class yet, but the 2015 class has commitments from guards Isaiah Briscoe and Charles Matthews as well as center Skal Labissiere.

“I’m not sure yet, I can decide later,” Wynyard said to Daniels on which class he’ll join.

With some questioning the future eligibility of Labissiere at Kentucky, Wynyard just provides another layer of insurance in Kentucky’s recruiting efforts. If Labissiere is ineligible at Kentucky, Wynyard could be asked to join the Kentucky’s ’15 class. If Skal plays for the Wildcats with no issues, Wynyard could wait until 2016. Or, if Kentucky is hit hard by 2015 NBA Draft and transfer losses, both big men could potentially join the roster in 2015.

Kentucky’s newest commit played in New Zealand’s NBL in 2014 and also became the youngest player ever to suit up for the New Zealand senior national team in a brief appearance with them last year. Compared favorably to Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams, a fellow Kiwi, Wynyard is currently training with the professional New Zealand Breakers U19 team while also practicing with the senior Breakers team.

Here’s a scouting report from September of Wynyard’s game from Sam Garriock of NZHoops:

For mine, Wynyard is an even better prospect than Adams was at this stage in his development.

Possessing soft hands and an imposing frame, Wynyard is a beast who is capable of finishing at a solid clip around the basket. When defenders rotate away from him to corral ball handlers, Wynyard makes them pay – presenting a wide target and gobbling up all drop off passes thrown his way. Wynyard also has a knack for and-one’s, using his brute strength to power through contact and lay the ball in.

Defensively Wynyard has an innate understanding of rotations, generally placing himself in reasonable help position and guards well in space. There’s an argument to be made that he was the best defender on his NBL squad – although that is a bit of a backhanded compliment with the Rangers owning the worst defence in the league by a country mile.

Obviously the young behemoth isn’t without flaws – he doesn’t really have any range offensively and is foul prone on defence – but he doesn’t even turn 17 for another five months.

Report: Elite 2016 international big man could decide today between Kentucky, Texas and Villanova

1 Comment

A major recruitment could be quickly coming to a close as New Zealand native and Class of 2016 big man Tai Wynyard will decide today between Kentucky, Texas and Villanova, according to Olgun Uluc of Pick and Roll Australia.

A 6-foot-9, 230-pound big man, Wynyard took unofficial visits to all three schools during January and has scholarship offers from all three programs. The 16-year-old Wynyard is the son of world-champion woodchoppers and first started gaining international acclaim for his performances playing against older competition.

Wynyard played in New Zealand’s NBL in 2014 and also became the youngest player ever to suit up for the New Zealand senior national team in a brief appearance with them last year. Compared favorably to Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams, a fellow Kiwi, Wynyard is currently training with the professional New Zealand Breakers U19 team while also practicing with the senior Breakers team, according to SNY.tv‘s Adam Zagoria.

Here’s a scouting report from September of Wynyard’s game from Sam Garriock of NZHoops:

For mine, Wynyard is an even better prospect than Adams was at this stage in his development.

Possessing soft hands and an imposing frame, Wynyard is a beast who is capable of finishing at a solid clip around the basket. When defenders rotate away from him to corral ball handlers, Wynyard makes them pay – presenting a wide target and gobbling up all drop off passes thrown his way. Wynyard also has a knack for and-one’s, using his brute strength to power through contact and lay the ball in.

Defensively Wynyard has an innate understanding of rotations, generally placing himself in reasonable help position and guards well in space. There’s an argument to be made that he was the best defender on his NBL squad – although that is a bit of a backhanded compliment with the Rangers owning the worst defence in the league by a country mile.

Obviously the young behemoth isn’t without flaws – he doesn’t really have any range offensively and is foul prone on defence – but he doesn’t even turn 17 for another five months.

Although currently a member of the 2016 class, there have been rumors that Wynyard could move into the 2015 class, which means he could be playing college basketball as early as next season.

Regardless of when he begins playing college hoops, it will likely take Wynyard some time to adjust to the American athleticism and style of play. But Wynyard already owns a reputation for being rugged and physical, so that aspect of the game doesn’t appear to be much of an issue.

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: Brandon Sampson to St. John’s, four-star could reclassify, New Zealand native visits three

Leave a comment
source:
(Under Armour)

Each week, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, four-star 2015 guard Brandon Sampson commits to St. John’s, 2016 four-star guard could reclassify and New Zealand big man Tai Wynyard takes three visits this week.

Brandon Sampson is huge for St. John’s

When Louisiana native Brandon Sampson gave his pledge to head coach Steve Lavin and St. John’s this week it signified a major grab for a program that has recently struggled to win big recruiting battles. As the No. 40 overall prospect and a talented 6-foot-4 shooting guard, Sampson is the kind of guard who can come in and play with Rysheed Jordan once D’Angelo Harrison, Jamal Branch and Phil Greene run out of eligibility after this season.

It also signifies that Lavin can still win major recruiting battles. Since landing junior Chris Obekpa, only sophomore Rysheed Jordan has been an impact the last two classes, with the Red Storm really struggling for depth right now.

Now with Sampson and three-star guard Samir Doughty, St. John’s is off to a nice start in 2015 and they can still add some more pieces in the next few months that will see the floor next season.

Four-star 2016 guard Bruce Brown could reclassify

Adding intrigue to recruiting this spring could be the reclassification of 2016 guard Bruce Brown to the 2015 class. One of the better scoring guards in the country, Brown can get rolling getting baskets with only a few touches and would make for another good guard, along with Kobie Eubanks, who have reclassified to 2015.

The news of Brown potentially reclassifying was first reported by Scout.com‘s Evan Daniels and UConn could be in the picture right away. The No. 58 guard in the 2016 class is 6-foot-3 and also has offers from Boston College, UMass, Miami, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Indiana.

If Brown changes over to 2015, he would might not be the only member of his class to do so. There are rumors of others from the 2016 class looking to do the same like center Thon Maker or guard Jamal Murray. If some of those guys jump up a class, it would add a lot of high-end talent to college basketball next season.

International big man visits three schools

There’s been a lot of buzz about New Zealand native Tai Wynyard in the international basketball community the last 12 months and the Class of 2016 big man visited three schools within the last week. According to Scout.com‘s Evan Daniels, Wynyard visited Kentucky, Villanova and Texas this week.

The 6-foot-9, 230-pound big man is supposed to be rapidly improving and very physically mature for a junior. It will be interesting to see how this recruitment plays out and if Wynyard plays in the United States at all this spring or summer before his senior season.

Along with La Lumiere big man Isaac Humphries, Wynyard is another intriguing international big man looking to play college basketball in America.