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John Calipari eager for Tai Wynyard to arrive; May play him ASAP

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Could the Kentucky Wildcats actually make a key mid-season addition that plays a role in the rest of their season?

John Calipari sounds like he hopes it happens when New Zealand forward Tai Wynyard arrives at UK next week. Wynyard committed to UK back in January and had planned to enroll for the spring semester and redshirt this season, but it's possible he plays for the Cats during the 2015-16 season.

After Wednesday night’s victory over EKU, Calipari made it sound like he’d rather have Wynyard play immediately, but admits that will be hard to do with so little time to prepare.

"He could redshirt, but the plan is, let’s slide him in there and go," Calipari said. "But again, OK, we play on the 19th. He gets here only on the 18th. Then we go on Christmas break and he’s going to come back here and I’ve got to have staff working with him over Christmas.

"Then we have two practice days and we play Louisville. Not probably the ideal game to shove him in, with two days practice. But then let’s just see where he is and let’s, we’ll figure it out."

The assumption has been that Wynyard will be joining the Wildcats and give them an extra body in practice this season while redshirting and being ineligible to play in games. He's been ranked as a top-75 recruit in most recruiting services.

Wynyard is ranked No. 60 in the 2015 class via 247 Sports, three spots higher than Isaac Humphries and 13 spots higher than Charles Matthews. If rankings are any indicator, maybe Wynyard does have the talent and ability to give UK some minutes this season.

"He's 6-10, 260. Could he be the answer to toughness? I don't know until we get him here and we let him get in there and mix it up," Cal said.

Wynyard helped lead New Zealand to the gold medal in the U18 3-on-3 Tournament over the summer and took home MVP honors. He scored eight of his team's 20 points in the gold medal game and finished the tournament as the second-leading scorer.

Wynyard's mother told Chris Fisher of the Cats Pause last month they would take a "wait-and-see" approach to playing this season depending on how well he was able to adjust to college basketball. At this point, it sounds like Cal is hoping Wynyard's arrival can help give the Cats some more physicality in the paint, something they continue to lack.