Well, I have to admit I didn’t see this coming so fast. Just a couple of days after the news broke the John Calipari had an interest in Tai Wynyard, a player from New Zealand who has recently burst into the consciousness of American college basketball coaches, Wynyard has verbally committed to play basketball for the Kentucky Wildcats. Here’s the report from Evan Daniels of Scout:
After taking a trio of official visits in early January, the 6-foot-9, 265-pound post player out of Auckland, New Zealand, committed to John Calipari and Kentucky. Wynyard informed Scout of his decision.
"I commited to Kentucky because I feel like they will push me to my maximum potential, the academic side looked awesome and the facility was great," Wynyard said. Wynyard took an official visit to Kentucky beginning on January 10th. He also took official visits to Villanova and Texas that week. St. Mary’s Pittsburgh and Hawaii had also taken visits out to New Zealand to see him play.
If Calipari thinks enough of this kid after seeing him play just a little bit, that tells me all I need to know. Coach Cal has one of the great eyes for talent among all Division I college basketball coaches, and it doesn’t take him very long to figure out if a kid is right for Kentucky. I’ve never seen Wynyard play, but here is a report from New Zealand describing him and his game when he suddenly blew up. I have no idea what language that is — Māori, perhaps.
He is apparently the son of a champion lumberjack, a very interesting parentage. We’re used to seeing the sons of former track athletes, basketball players, and etcetera, but lumberjacks? That’s a new one on me. Wynyard is also considering reclassifying to 2015.
Welcome, Tai, to the Big Blue Nation. We’re happy to have you with us.