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Tai Wynyard’s toughness is making him part of Kentucky’s rotation

KSR-4115 Tai Wynyard

Since he joined the team a year ago, everyone wants to know when Tai Wynyard’s going to play. Well, he’s playing. Last night, Tai logged a career-high 12 minutes, and although he didn’t score any points, John Calipari was very pleased with the wood chopper’s toughness.

“I thought Tai Wynyard was good today. The one thing you get with Tai, he’s going to mix it up. He’s going to be physical. He’s going to push on people. The problem is he pushed on the one where we made the three and hadn’t even shot the ball and he’s pushing the guy out of bounds. But we need that on this team. We need a little more toughness.”

Calipari specifically wants more toughness from Bam Adebayo, who has requested to play against Tai in practice because he’s so physical. Last night, Bam praised Wynyard, who may be passing Isaac Humphries as his backup.

“I think Tai did well,” Bam said. “I love him to death. He played good. He played great and he gave us good minutes.”

This morning, ESPN’s Myron Medcalf posted a great profile of Wynyard’s journey from New Zealand to Lexington, in which Wynyard said he gets his toughness from his dad, a world champion lumberjack who once chopped his toe off during a relay chopping competition but kept going. Since he arrived in Lexington, we’ve joked that Wynyard needs to teach his teammates the famous Haka war dance, but he told Medcalf they don’t understand how serious it is.

“They always try to get me to do it, but you can’t really do it over here,” Wynyard said. “It’s just different. Some things they’re saying [in the haka] is ‘I’m going to rip your head off and eat it.’ It’s not just, like, a fun dance. It’s scary.”

Which is exactly why this group needs to learn it.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

19 Comments for Tai Wynyard’s toughness is making him part of Kentucky’s rotation

  1. AGSlater
    6:02 pm February 1, 2017 Permalink

    Cal is a stubborn fool that can recruit thats it

    • catsarerunnin
      9:33 pm February 1, 2017 Permalink


    • 4everblue
      9:39 pm February 1, 2017 Permalink

      Why don’t you follow UL then, we don’t need fans like you, then you can follow a coach who is a liar and a cheat.

    • UK Big Board Update
      11:41 pm February 1, 2017 Permalink

      He’s a Duke fan… why he hangs out here and tries to convince everyone he’s a UK fan is beyond me…

  2. cab9560r
    6:09 pm February 1, 2017 Permalink

    Great article Mrs. Tyler, he just needs some playing time and I think his toughness as you said is what they all need to take a hold of and run with it. I think he will make a huge impact between now and tournament time. Can’t fault a kid who works his tail off in practice and hasn’t seen much action but still gives it all he has, how can anyone not root for him. Once again great work Mrs. Tyler 🙂

  3. DelrayCat
    6:15 pm February 1, 2017 Permalink

    The problem is that Tai nor Humphries were not expected to play major roles this year. Neither would be playing much if Marcus Lee had not transferred. I expect both to continue to improve and begin to make a real impact in the coming years. Unfortunately with this team, the guards simply do not even throw these two guys the ball when they are in the game. We will live and die with the guards taking 80%+ of the teams shots.

    • DelrayCat
      6:15 pm February 1, 2017 Permalink

      …Lee and Charles Matthews.

    • THE William Hill
      11:51 pm February 1, 2017 Permalink

      Great guards lead teams to national titles, all you need to do is look at history.

  4. maximumscott
    6:29 pm February 1, 2017 Permalink

    Lee i can understand, but matthews?!?!? Dude wouldnt make a difference on this team. Diallo, now that is a different story. Also, i dont blame the guards not giving to humphries he cant ever seem to make a layup and wynard isnt an offensive player just a spark plug and toughness guy to get garbage boards.

  5. maximumscott
    6:34 pm February 1, 2017 Permalink

    The problems in our losses was fatigue. Our guards ply too fast all game to be playing 30 plus minutes. Hopefully, having fox out shows Cal who he can play. I bet when fox gets back your going to see less minutes for fox and monk. If briscoe and fox cant be in together. Briscoe is better being the PG. they can play together but they are individually better at PG. put Fox with Hawkins and Monk and then Briscoe with monk and hawkins depending on rotation and foul situation. Limit their time together on the court. I mean briscoe running the PG Almost had a triple double!!!! Last few games with fox at point he does nothing. Hope Cal sees this.

  6. a21CATSfan
    7:12 pm February 1, 2017 Permalink

    I’m sorry but this is necessary. Whenever Humphries enters the game we take a step back…EVERYTIME! Look at last night. He starts (I have no idea why), and we are down 9-0.

    • unbridled
      10:47 pm February 1, 2017 Permalink

      You seriously think humphries is the reason why? Humphries is what he is, but he is not to blame for the entire team’s lack of defense or offense. The guy is getting a bad rap. He plays hard and has obvious limitations, but the lulls you speak of are certainly not his individual fault. Not sure how you can watch the games and come to that conclusion?

  7. henderblue
    8:25 pm February 1, 2017 Permalink

    Love Tai’s toughness and ability to knock people around. We definitely need a banger down low. If he keeps it up maybe we can refer to him in the future as the axe murderer.

  8. A_Blue_Wildcat
    12:53 am February 2, 2017 Permalink

    I liked what Tai gave us last night, but the main reason he’s playing is because Humphries is just so incredibly disappointing this year. Defensively he’s a lost cause most of the time, and offensively he gives you nothing unless its a wide open layup or dunk. It’s extremely frustrating watching him play because it looks like he hasn’t progressed at all since he’s been here. I wasn’t expecting him to look incredible this year, but was hoping he’d at least be better defensively which he just simply isn’t.

    • Beavis
      7:38 am February 2, 2017 Permalink

      Humphries has limitations, thats obvious. Need to play zone when he and Willis are in the game. What happens if you don’t ? High pick and roll and Hump ends up on a guard 20 feet away from the basket. I have not noticed Bam doing well in that situation either. Opposing teams guards driving around our guards straight to the basket and Hump trying to help out on the drives. Have you noticed Bam sitting on the bench early in games with foul trouble trying to help out in the same situation ? This team has some defensive liabilities and to blame those on Hump and Willis is just wrong.

    • unbridled
      7:48 am February 2, 2017 Permalink

      Thank you beavis. Bam has a tendency to get in foul trouble because of his defense and someone has to play. Both bam and humphries really struggle playing man defense against a quicker guard 20′ from the basket. But yeah humphries is the sole reason for the lack of team defense.

    • UKsuperdave
      8:28 am February 2, 2017 Permalink

      Seems every time Humphries goes in he immediately gets two week fouls called on him down low.

  9. CPAcatman
    9:28 am February 2, 2017 Permalink

    Switching screens is making life difficult for us. This team isn’t full of interchangeable parts like in 2015. It is allowing opposing teams to get any matchup they want. You want Willis guarding your point guard? Then set a screen and like magic, Willis is now on your point guard. Bam has 2 fouls and you want him to pick up a 3rd? Just have the guy Bam is guarding set a screen for the point guard and like magic Bam is now guarding the opposing point guard. Other coaches can get whatever matchup they want doing this and it is putting our post players in bad situations where they are almost guaranteed to fail. Stop switching screens on every possession and I think we would see a dramatic change in our defensive effectiveness.

  10. satcheluk
    9:32 am February 2, 2017 Permalink

    We are arguably the worst defensive team Cal has had and maybe at UK since Pitino arrived, minus s Billy G team of course.