LEXINGTON, Ky. — Tai Wynyard is trying to muscle his way into more minutes.
The redshirt freshman forward is behind fellow big men Bam Adebayo and Isaac Humphries in Kentucky’s rotation, but Wynyard’s physicality could be his way to more minutes. As a result, frontcourt wars often break out in practice.
“If you came in and watched it’s crazy,” Wynyard said Friday. “It gets kinda heated in there, you know. We’re going at each other and fighting each other and stuff like that so it’s a lot of fun.”
Wynyard has logged just 33 minutes for the season but played five Tuesday night against Mississippi State. He sees an opening with coach John Calipari’s constant preaching of defense and toughness — two things he thinks he brings to the floor.
It’s what he tried to show Tuesday night in Starkville, Miss.
“I just took my opportunity and did the best I could with it,” Wynyard said. “I haven’t been playing very much this season so it was good to get out there and have a little bit of playing time.”
The No. 5 Cats are preparing for a physical game at home against No. 24 South Carolina on Saturday (6 p.m. ET, ESPN). The Gamecocks have bullied opponents with defense and will do their best to slow down the fast-paced Kentucky team. But Wynyard is familiar with South Carolina’s style. It’s what he was used to at home in New Zealand.
“It’s a lot more slower and you’re banging bodies,” he said.
Much like he’s doing with Adebayo and the other big men in practice.