Maalik Wayns grew up playing basketball in Philly. Wayns, former Roman Catholic and Villanova basketball star, is a big fan of the 76ers. He had a chance to show the Sixers what he could do on Monday at PCOM in a pre-draft workout with prospects Zack Rosen (Penn), Terrell Stoglin (Maryland) and Scott Machado (Iona).
“It was a good (workout),” Wayns said. “It’s my hometown team. It’s the team I grew up watching. I’m a Sixers fan. It’s like a dream come true. I’m just living the dream right now. I’m getting a work out. I’m getting to meet guys like Mr. (Rod) Thorn (president of basketball operations) Sonny Hill (executive adviser) and Coach (Tony) DiLeo (senior vice president of basketball operations), I think it went great.”
Wayns was an early entry candidate, leaving Villanova following his junior season. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound point guard, was named second-team All-Big East. He averaged 17.6 points, 4.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds a game. Wayns led the Wildcats in scoring and assists. He had 39 points with 13 rebounds and six assists against Cincinnati.
The Wildcats’ backcourt ace has been watching rookie Lavoy Allen play a key role in the Sixers’ playoff run. Wayns played against Allen during his college career at Temple. Allen, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound power forward, was a second-round pick of the Sixers in last year’s NBA draft. Allen has inspired Wayns this NBA postseason.
“I’ve watched Lavoy a whole a lot,” Wayns said. “We played AAU together. I heard a whole lot about him last year. Guys said he couldn’t make it. He wouldn’t be drafted, this and that. Now, he’s playing better than guys who went in the top 20 or top 30. It’s not about where you start. It’s about how you progress and how you finish. I think he’s proven a lot of people wrong, as did a lot of guys who went in the second round. It’s all about your opportunity and how you take advantage of it.”
According to the website nbadraft.net, Wayns is going to the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 41 pick in the second round. He tries not to concern himself with the NBA mock drafts.
“I really don’t pay any attention to it,” he said. “I know the teams that are bringing me in are interested in me. I just try to go and workout and do my best and just take it from there.”
It’s been a busy time for Wayns. This wasn’t his first NBA pre-draft workout. It won’t be his last either. He has a hectic schedule ahead of him. The NBA Draft Lottery will take place on May 30. The NBA draft will be held on June 28.
“I was just in New Jersey for the Nets’ Combine,” he said. “I’m headed to L-A right after this (workout) for the Clippers. Then, I’m going to Golden State (Warriors). Then, I got like 15 more (workouts).”
Wayns would like to join other Villanova products in the NBA such as Randy Foye (Los Angeles Clippers), Dante Cunningham (Memphis Grizzlies) and Kyle Lowry (Houston Rockets). He talks regularly to Lowry, who has emerged as a solid point guard in the NBA.
“I talk to Kyle like two or three times a week,” Wayns said. “He always gives me good advice. He wishes good luck. He tells me what to do and what not to do.”
Wayns knows how to play this game. Next month, he could be hearing his name called during the NBA draft.