Kiwi teen to play Michael Jordan Brand Classic

MARC HINTON
Last updated 15:05 08/04/2014
Tai Wynyard
Fairfax NZ
AIMING HIGH: Tai Wynyard hopes to be the next big thing in New Zealand basketball.

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Sixteen-year-old Auckland schoolboy Tai Wynyard is probably still pinching himself. 

The son of Kiwi woodchopping legends Jason and Karmyn Wynyard is heading for the bright lights of New York City where not only will he get to showcase his burgeoning basketball talents at Brooklyn's Barclays Centre, but he'll also get to meet hoops icon Michael Jordan.

Wynyard is one of New Zealand's most promising basketballers with predictions he could eventually follow in the footsteps of Steven Adams and crack the highest levels of the game.

Certainly, a surprise invite to participate in the annual Jordan Brand Classic - the US' premier high school all-star extravaganza - it indicates the Rangitoto College standout is on the right track. 

The Breakers development player, who regularly trains with the Australian NBL outfit, will have to miss a scheduled outing with the New Zealand under-18 team in Australia to participate in the Jordan extravaganza on April 18.

But it should be well worth the sacrifice.

Wynyard will play in the international fixture featuring talented high school players selected from around the globe which serves as one of the the curtain-raisers to the main match-up. 

While in New York, the young hoopers will get to share a pre-game meal with Jordan, the six-time NBA champion and widely acknowledged as the greatest to have played the game. Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Blake Griffin are among the many superstars to have played in the JBC event in previous years.

Wynyard is unsure how his name got into the mix for the event but is grateful to have received the chance: "I'm really enjoying my basketball at the moment. This is a surprise bonus that I can learn so much from. And, it will be unreal to meet some NBA legends".

 

Wynyard's hoops career is taking off in leaps and bounds. He made his New Zealand NBL debut last Sunday, scoring 14 points in 19 minutes off the bench for the Supercity Rangers. 

 

He will now well and truly be on the radar for a number of American colleges, while the Breakers will also offer him a direct pathway to the professional game when he finishes up his schooling.

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