Tai Wynyard, who committed to Kentucky on Sunday over Villanova and Texas, is one of the best young 16-year-old players in the world at the moment.
That doesn't necessarily mean that he's ready-made to step in for the Wildcats. But they are getting a 6-foot-9 power forward who plays with terrific physical toughness inside for his age. He has an ability to make shots away from the basket, but his bread and butter is around the rim. In many ways he reminds me of a young Enes Kanter, a Turkish import who never gained NCAA eligibility at Kentucky and still ended up as an NBA lottery pick with the Utah Jazz.
Wynyard was discovered by George Raveling, Nike's head of global basketball, at the Nike All-Asian camp a couple of years ago. Along with being the best young player in New Zealand, a country that has recently turned out Oklahoma City's Steven Adams, he nearly made the New Zealand national team that competed in the FIBA World Cup this past summer. The 16-year-old phenom was the last cut on a team that included former Wisconsin Badgers star Kirk Penney and current Nebraska guard Tai Webster.
There is no indication as to whether he will be in the Class of 2015 or 2016. From what I've been told, that has yet to be determined. But given that John Calipari has done a terrific job developing NBA prospects, Kentucky seems like a logical landing spot for Wynyard. Don't expect instant success, however. He's still a baby in terms of his long-term development. I'd look at him as a top-25 player in this current high school junior class.
He also has very good genes. His mother is a former college basketball player and his father is a former world champion woodchopper.