While Big Blue Nation’s eyes have been on John Calipari, Hamidou Diallo, P.J. Washington and a slew of Kentucky basketball recruits representing USA Basketball at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Egypt, Wildcats sophomore Tai Wynyard delivered quite an opening statement of his own Saturday morning.
The 6-foot-10, 250-pound Wynyard scored 16 points in the fourth quarter of a tight game to deliver an 88-81 victory for his native New Zealand over Korea in the first game of pool play in Cairo. He hit 10 of 11 shots from the field and finished with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal in just 19 minutes.
That’s an encouraging sign for Kentucky, which could use both a “veteran” — as a redshirt sophomore, he’ll be the most seasoned scholarship player on the Cats’ 2017-18 roster — and physical presence like him. Wynyard played a total of 54 minutes (with 11 points and 13 rebounds) all last season.
He is easily overlooked in the parade of 5-star recruits coming to town, but perhaps that is a mistake. If Wynyard keeps playing like he did Saturday, it will certainly open some eyes.
This is downright filthy from Tai Wynyard pic.twitter.com/VF9FZdHddw
— Sam Garriock (@Sam_Garriock) July 1, 2017