WINNIPEG — The Manitoba Bisons men’s basketball team made it all the way to the national championship this season, largely on the back of local players. On Thursday the Bisons recruited the most valuable player in the AAAA Manitoba High School Provincial Basketball Championships.
Oak Park Raiders forward Wyatt Tait of Winnipeg signed his letter of intent to join the Herd starting in the fall. Tait had several offers but in the end made the decision to stay home.
“It was difficult at first,” Tait said. “But once I learned about the program a little more, I knew I wanted to stay home and play for the Bisons.”
Tait, 18, was named the tournament’s most valuable player in leading the Oak Park Raiders to the AAAA provincial boys basketball title earlier in the week. He also won the high school championship in 2015.
“He certainly had interest from around the country,” said Bisons head coach Kirby Schepp.
“Wyatt had a number of offers from around the country and he had a very good showing in the tournament, here last year in the national tournament when he played for the provincial team. That garnered him a lot of interest and we certainly did everything we could to keep him home.”
Tait stands at six foot six and averaged 22 points and 14 rebounds per game this past season with Oak Park. High school coaches voted him as the top ranked player in Manitoba.
“After hearing that the other coaches around the league thought I was the best in there, that helped me a bit in the last little bit of the season there. Gave me a little confidence boost.”
But Tait will go from dominating the boys to competing against men next season.
“Like every high school kid he’s got to get stronger,” Schepp said. “You’re playing against men now right. These guys are bigger, stronger, and that will be a job for not only Wyatt, but our strength coach Shawn Preston. He’s going to put on weight and get stronger and once he does, the kid will be fine.”