One of the late additions to the group of guys who Impact Basketball was Maalik Wayns, Villanova’s shifty point guard. Surprising some by quickly bouncing to the League after his junior season, Wayns looks to follow in the footsteps of another Philly-bred guard who went to ‘Nova and bounced to the League: Kyle Lowry.
“Kyle and Maalik are both fearless going to the rim. Both of those guys get after it on both ends of the floor too, so there are definitely a lot of similarities,” explained Kyle Lowry’s big bro Lonnie, who coached both guards in AAU for Team Philly. “The one difference right now is that Maalik is more of a natural scorer, while Kyle was more of a true point guard.”
The numbers that Wayns put up in his final season for the Wildcats were actually even better than those of the Rockets’ starting point guard. Wayns posted averages of 17 and nearly 5 dimes per game, while Lowry put up 11 and 3.7 in his final season. Of course numbers aren’t everything and Lowry was splitting backcourt duties with Randy Foye, but it does give you an idea of the type of damage Wayns put on the Big East last season.
We had a chance to see Maalik’s workout debut at Impact after arriving in Vegas late the night before. Usually off on Saturdays, Wayns and Tu Holloway came in for an early morning workout to get accustomed to the rigors that renowned trainer Joe Abunassar puts his clients through.
Starting things off with some light ball-handling drills, it was easy to see why Wayns was such a problem for Big East defenders this past season. The shifty bursts of explosiveness were unlike those of any other guard in the ball-handling drills. With a sturdy 6-2 frame, you could see that he had a body tailor-made for finishing in the paint after absorbing contact.
The area that appeared to be Wayns’ biggest liability during his college career (his outside jumper) actually turned out to be his biggest asset. Shooting a shaky 29 percent from the three at Nova this past season, his perimeter shot was a concern. After seeing him shoot over 100 threes at Impact, we threw the notion that he couldn’t shoot it out the window.
There were three separate instances in which Wayns hit 10 consecutive NBA threes and he shot over 60 percent total by our count. As wild as it sounds, he actually seemed more comfortable shooting the rock from the NBA line than he did from the shorter collegiate line. For a guy fresh off the plane in his first workout, there wasn’t a whole lot more you could ask for.
Maalik is a guy who will surprise some teams with his explosiveness and newfound ability to shoot the ball. Though most presently have him projected as being a late second-round pick, he has the potential to make a GM look real good if drafted into a system that caters to his skillset.
Wayns would be an ideal pick for a team looking to develop a backup point guard and if brought along properly, he should have no problem following Lowry’s footsteps to a starting job in the NBA some day.