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John Calipari talks Tai Wynyard, Steven Adams comparison

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John Calipari compared Tai Wynyard to Oklahoma City Thunder Center Steven Adams while talking about the redshirt freshman.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Blue Nation has been anxious for several months to get a glimpse of Kentucky big man Tai Wynyard.

After spending the second half of last season sitting out in order to preserve eligibility, Wynyard will look to make an impact on the court for the Wildcats in the upcoming 2016-2017 season.

Prior to the NBA Draft, John Calipari sat down with Ben Stanley from The Spinoff to discuss his New Zealand big man. In that interview, he preached patience with Wynyard, something that fans continued to hear last year.

However, Calipari said that he sees a lot of potential in Wynyard and even compared him to Oklahoma City Thunder Steven Adams. Adams, the former 12th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, has been a valuable contributor for the Thunder, averaging eight points and seven rebounds per game this past season while shooting 61 percent from the free throw line.

"He reminds me exactly [of Adams]," Calipari said."..."Tai has the size. Adams – and the way he plays – shows you ‘look, you can do this’ but you have to really work. It’s a process."

Calipari had additional praise for Wynyard.

"His game is all ahead of him. He’s a great kid. He always has a smile on his face and comes from a great family. He’s a really coachable young man, which makes it easy for us."

There could be opportunities for Wynyard to work his way into the frontcourt rotation, but it will not come easy with the likes of Bam Adebayo, Sacha Killeya-Jones, and Issac Humphries all capable of playing the center position.

Calipari said that it was much too early in the process to say what Wynyard's role on this team could be.

"We’ve got a brand new team so we’re trying to figure everything out," he says. "But my hope is that he is the best version of himself, and puts himself in the best position to play and help his team."

We were once again treated to another strong showing by Wynyard at this year’s FIBA 3-on-3 U18 World Championships. One year after earning MVP honors en route to leading his home country of New Zealand to the gold medal at the event, Wynyard and the Kiwis finished in fourth place at this year’s tournament.

Wynyard finished third in scoring among all players at this year’s event.

If Wynyard continues to develop and can prove to be a valuable rotational piece in the frontcourt, it makes Kentucky even more dangerous going forward.