New Zealand Star Wynyard to Kentucky (UPDATED) | Zagsblog
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Saturday / May 21.
  • New Zealand Star Wynyard to Kentucky (UPDATED)

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    Tai Wynyard, the 6-foot-9 16-year-old power forward from New Zealand who is the son of world champion woodchoppers, has committed to Kentucky.

    Wynyard also considered Texas and Villanova and recently visited all three schools.

    Wynyard is Kentucky’s first commit in the Class of 2016.

    “Why Kentucky? Well it was amazing,” Wynyard told New Zealand’s 3news in this interview.

    “They were my first college [visit] and I just wanted to sign up just there and then.

    “They wanted to push me the hardest, they said ‘If you don’t want to work hard, you better not come to our school’ and that’s what I love. I love working hard”

    Wynyard said in the interview Kentucky head coach John Calipari plans to come see him in April or May.

    “That’s going to be real fun to be able to show him my hometown and everything like that,” he’s aid.

    He also said Kentucky’s track record of sending players to the NBA was key to his decision.

    “That was amazing, being able to have that many NBA picks and drafts picks, that’s just crazy,” he said. “That’s another reason why I chose the school.”

    What is Kentucky getting?

    “He’ll give them high character and solid depth in the front court for a few seasons at the very least,” Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com told SNY.tv on Sunday.

    “He is a big, strong kid,” Givony recently told the Herald-Leader of Wynyard. “He’s very, very mature physically for his age — has really filled out. A lot of European players, people usually think about them as being skinny. He is thick. And he uses that to his advantage. He can go inside and just bully people — he can punish them around the rim because he’s so big and strong. And he’s also a big-time competitor. He’s a hustler.”

    Givony compared Wynyard to Josh Harrellson, who played for Kentucky before joining the Knicks.

    “He has good hands and good touch around the basket,” he said. “He’s not really an athlete, he’s not really explosive. … He’s a rebounder, he’s an inside guy, he’s a banger. He’s about like what Josh Harrellson was before he started shooting threes. Something like that.”

    Wynyard has opted to pursue basketball instead of the family trade, woodchopping.

    “Me and dad sometimes head down to the shed and train and I try not to chop my foot off,” Wynyard told New Zealand’s 3news.

    His mother prefers he play hoops.

    “I don’t want to see him do the wood chopping when he’s got a huge future in basketball possibly,” she told the outlet.



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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.