Wynyard out to reignite his career

Tai Wynyard has joined the Southland Sharks. Photo: Southland Sharks
Tai Wynyard has joined the Southland Sharks. Photo: Southland Sharks
One of New Zealand's top young basketball talents will look to resurrect his career against Otago tomorrow.

Tai Wynyard was announced as a new signing for the Southland Sharks this week.

He will debut for the side tomorrow at Stadium Southland against the Otago men's team in an NBL pre-season fixture, which doubles as an ILT Challenge Shield match.

A 2.08m centre, Wynyard was one of the most talented junior players New Zealand has produced.

He debuted for the Tall Blacks in 2014 at 16 years old and a year later was the MVP of the under-18 3x3 world championship.

Three years at the University of Kentucky followed, although a lack of game time and a serious back injury cut that venture short.

Now aged 21 and having played little basketball since the 2017 under-19 World Cup, he is hoping a move south will reignite his star.

He said the Sharks were renowned for their support from both the management and fans.

A connection with coach Judd Flavell had been a further selling point.

"Juddy was great for me when I was younger," he said.

"When I was first getting into it at 14 or 15, he got me in, made me work and made me better.

"So, when he hit me up, I jumped at the chance to come down here to get healthy and to get better again.

"I want to get healthy, get out there and contribute.

"It's small steps for me having been out for a year now, but I'm loving getting the gears grinding again and getting back into it."

He will join Sharks newcomers Dom Kelman-Poto and Hyrum Harris tomorrow.

However, the side will be without Jarrad Weeks, Mitch McCarron, Todd Blanchfield and Alex Pledger.

Otago has a changed line-up from the one which beat a weaker Sharks side earlier this month.

Josh Aitcheson, Darcy Knox and Samson Aruwa, who finished second at the 3x3 national finals that weekend, considerably bolster the side across the court.

The team will have to do without key guard Olly Smith and forward Nathan Hanna.

Matt Bardsley and Matt Stevenson were influential in the first game and will be key at both ends tomorrow.

Tip-off is at 1pm.

Otago v Sharks

Sunday, Invercargill, 1pm
Otago: Tai Porima-Flavell, Harry Thorp, Tom Davison, Darcy Knox, Matt Bardsley, Hamish Robertson, Aaron Roydhouse, Matt Stevenson, Samson Aruwa, Josh Aitcheson, Brent Cheshire, James Scobie.
Sharks: Tom Cowie, Nathan Walker, Dom Kelman-Poto, Tai Wynyard, Tom Vodanovich, Jayson Collett, Hyrum Harris, Andrew Wheeler, Tinashe Matambanadzo, Jordan Murphy, Connor Coll, Ross Tewiti.

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