The Kentucky Wildcats could be getting some frontcourt help as early as next week with the imminent arrival of Tai Wynyard.
A 6-10 power forward out of New Zealand, Wynyard will arrive in Lexington in the coming days and be eligible to play next Saturday when Kentucky takes on the Ohio State Buckeyes in Brooklyn. Originally a four-star prospect in the 2016 class, Wynyard reclassified into the 2015 class as a mid-season addition.
Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv recently talked to Wynyard's mom, Karmyn, and while she confirmed her son is coming to UK next week, it's still possible he redshirts and doesn't play in games this season.
"Tai is both excited and nervous about leaving next week," Karmyn said." I guess he will decide what he wants to do regarding redshirting once he gets there. We have talked about it, but ultimately it will be for Tai and his coaches to discuss and decide once he settles in."
It's not realistic to expect a mid-season signee to join a team that's been practicing together for months now and jump right into game action. That's what it sounded like could happen when John Calipari said earlier this week "let’s slide him in there and go." Don't expect that to happen anytime soon when it comes to actual games as Wynyard will be just trying to adjust to life at an American university.
"At 17 he is sure he is ready to step in and do whatever is asked of him, but we also realize settling in there will not only be a new team and coaches to adjust to with all their plays, etc," Karmyn said. "He will be living in a new home with a new extension of his family, finding his feet on campus in a new environment with a different culture. All this after travelling for more than 36 hours on three flights. He will probably take the first week to workout and settle into a routine before he decides. I'm sure he will take it all in his stride as that is just what he does."
While Wynyard playing in games, at least for the next month, isn't realistic, that doesn't mean he won't help UK's frontcourt get more physical. His presence in practice and going against guys like Skal Labissiere every day may help Skal and other UK bigs become more physical. His Draft Express profile has him at 263 pounds, meaning he'd be only the second Wildcat listed over 230 pounds on the roster.
If nothing else, Wynyard could be a big, physical body in the paint that guys like Skal are going to have to be more physical against to succeed.