Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Wynyard could be next big thing from New Zealand

The last recruiting venture to New Zealand made by the Hawai’i basketball team is working out quite well, so why not try again?

The next New Zealand player on the recruiting radar for the Warriors could be Tai Wynyard, a still-growing 6-foot-7 post player from Auckland. He recently turned 15 years old, so he still has two to three years of prep schooling remaining before he can attend college.

However, a few American programs are already starting to recruit Wynyard, and he said Hawai’i is a place he is considering.

“Me and my mom are already talking about it,” he said. “I really want to play college ball, in the U.S., or where ever.”


Wynyard said he has distant relatives on Oahu, so attending college at UH is “something we’re looking at.”

Wynyard played with the New Zealand Basketball Academy (NZBA) Under 16 team that was in Las Vegas last week to participate in the adidas Super 64 tournament. NZBA head coach Zico Colonel said Wynyard’s main attributes are his size and potential. Wynyard has been playing organized basketball for just three years.

“Tai’s got a great body type – very strong, I think that will project,” Colonel said. “He’s pretty skilled. His shot’s developing. He’s decent from 3-point range. He can go to right hand or left hand jump-hook … he has a lot of potential.”

In addition to size, Wynyard has inherited impressive athletic genes – his parents are professional competitive lumberjacks. His father, Jason Wynyard, is one of the greatest international competitors in the history of the sport with a record 15 world championships.

“Both his parents are world champion woodchoppers, so I’m pretty sure he’s going to be a big, strong, young man,” Colonel said.

The recent success of New Zealand basketball players Steven Adams (recent NBA Lottery draft pick out of Pittsburgh) and, yes, University of Hawai’i forward Isaac Fotu, has created a buzz among young players in New Zealand.

“I think Hawai’i is probably a pretty nice place to aspire to playing, so I don’t think that would sound unpalatable to anybody,” Colonel said. “We have high hopes for Isaac and certainly think that Hawaii is something that a lot of our Polynesian kids … would be interested in for the future, especially with Isaac looking like he’s going to be a big success.”

Wynyard said he met Fotu earlier this summer, and had a chance to work out with him. “I played with him a couple of times when he came back to New Zealand,” Wynyard said. “He’s a real good player.”



  1. Keep Building the Body & Skills, Tai

    NZ & Hawai’i share a unique Poly Heritage

    Then join Polynesia’s Team @ UH!
    Isaac: Keep the Pipeline pumpin’


    playhoopsa — while we all want “The Next Dr. J, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley”, etc.
    i think we’ll be fine BNWC (Before Negus Webster-Chan) with AV & Thomas quickly developing….
    then ‘loaded in 2014…’.
    maybe even without great athleticism, The Next Jimmer Fredette or Larry Bird would be o.k.
    Sky’s the Limit? (Thanks to this Coaching Staff…)

  2. Wow, if this young gentleman can do the prep work he could be the next big get for a lot of teams.

  3. When the title of the video (thanks Dayton! how was NZ?), I thought we got a late-get!
    It’s late alright but, not till 223yrs later down the line (how old is your younger brah now, 42? we like them both & your sis as a Wahine for Coach Beeman)!

    It’s too bad that Tony Webster sent Tai to Nebraska but, Mr. Wynyard will want his son to be a WARRIOR! Thanks to Coach Coronel (he’s so cool!), too.

    He looks big-strong-tough already, maintains training/development – wow, a Wallace Reed of the future!

    Perceiving through his fire-in-the-eyes now (so maturely in handling publicity) >> Tai will be a BIG WINNER (W & I will wish that he’s my son! Knicks mngr ru listening?), If that Keith/Even & co didn’t hang a banner in SSC yet. Nevels/Quincy/NWC/Evan/Tai(? or later) & co WILL! Although they might miss the White House honor by POTUS Obama (maybe Clinton will)!
    “Come join the TEAM, be part of the HISTORY”!

  4. eagle: just a thought that both of us, and several others threw out to Gib a few months ago on Questions with Gib. Whether Gib would still offer his one available scholie for this year. He said , if a GREAT FIT and the best available athelte could be found, even up till start of School , late Aug 2013, and be eligible for this year, he would consider. Once again have to be the right guy.

    Agree with you, AV, worked super hard, his body, strong, his hops, he is getting up higher, his outside shot, his handles, his D, he did everything Gib wanted him to do, to compete at wing.

    Michael Thomas, I can see, is not a super thing young guy, he has some nice body weight to him. Perhaps hitting the weight room at UH. His coach with summer league team, brings him in off of the bench, lets, the older guys play more. MT, from first game, till now, has improved. Looks like he is getting more confidence. Handles, hops(at least in last video, he dunked several times, )and learning D1 ball game. AV and MT, as freshmen(RS and true), they still can have an impact, on super D, rebounding, running with the guards, and just opening up the floor.

    No, I agree with you eagle, if Gib saves the scholie for next year good. If he offers it to a RS deserving, good. If a late guy is available, that is the RIGHT FIT, or next year the Right FIT(ZNER), fantastic.

    Anyways, I am with you, still haven’t seen this team, workout in Gib’s system, however, I think Gib has a lot of athletes, increased athleticsim, at all positions, and if the kids work hard. We don’t have to wait till NWC era, next year, I believe, the guys, play well on D, stop the 3 of BWC teams, Hawaii MBB could dance this year, I really think so.

    Come on Gib, you can do it. Coach em well, and they , the UH MBB team 2013-14 edition could have great season this year!!

  5. Dayton: Mahalo for the video. Any other NZ or AU bballers we going after?

    Since we’re talking about recruiting… Can you confirm whether Jack Hackman committed for 2013 (walkon or scholarship?) and Daquan Phillips committed for 2014? Not much info available on either…

  6. Tai’s a good looking young man. He reminds me of Manroop Clair. I will miss that guy. I still think Gib gave up on him too early. Clair is still only 18 and won’t turn 19 until December.

  7. it is interesting that you would suggest that the staff “gave up on [Clair] too early”, when I think the kid ended the year starting the last 2 or 3 games. I think it is more accurate to say that Clair gave up on this place too early, by deciding to move closer to home after just one year.

  8. Dayton, like gobows, I’d also be interested in hearing more about Jack Hackman, if in fact UH has signed him. There’s a thread about Jack posted on the Warrior Sports Network Ohana message board.

  9. C’mon Gib…. keep the bigs rolling in. Fotu’s stardom is going to be a huge recruiting asset in that part of the world.

  10. Tai Webster is a legit player. Nebraska got a steal. He will be contending for Freshman of the year in that conference. Webster and Fotu would have been a deadly combo.

  11. Maybe after Webster spends a year in Nebraska and realizes what he’s gotten himself into, he’ll follow in Standhardinger’s footsteps and jump over to UH to play with Fotu.

  12. Google search confirmed my mistake: The famed center/perwer-forwardcorrect name should be Willis Reed Jr.

    Hey Fotu,
    How’s the knee healing? wish you a speedy recovery!
    BTW, would you think >> Two Tai’s is better than one?

    I think we got better point guards/sf already!

  13. Thanks to all for the consistent comments. Nice to see such interest in basketball, even during these summer months and with football right around the corner.

    In answer to the question, there have been a handful of names popping up in recent weeks as possible additions to the roster, and here’s my take on why those names have not been mentioned on this site: walk-ons take a while to process, and unfortunately, it is very likely that the program will not be able to take all of them. In my opinion, it creates a somewhat awkward situation for a potential player and his family if he is mentioned publicly as an addition to the team, only to be left off later.

    Recruited walk-ons are a different situation, and as far as I know, Niko Filipovich is the only one of the incoming players who would fall in that category.

    The official roster will be figured out as we get closer to October, so we’ll see what happens then.

    Perhaps the shorter answer to the question: yes, there is still one open scholarship available.

  14. Hey Dayton, thanks for input on possible walkons, and difference to recruited or invited and those who are trying to make team as a walkon. For the diehard UH MBB fan, quite exciting, UH MBB talk, recruits, walkons, improvement of returnees, and excitement of new guys, and RS’s, keep the basketball junkies that we are going, even in summer! With UH FB stilll a month away, nice reporting on summer league, open gym, etc.

    Dayton, you have a lot of journalitstic intergrity, make sure, things are accurate before posting, names or what not. Thank you for that! WI will have probably video interviews, with coach, staff, and official walkons , scholie guys before start of next season. Great news. and thanks to WI!!

    Mahalo again Dayton for burning the midnite oil!

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