Many may have questioned the decision of Maalik Wayns when he decided to forgo his senior season as the Villanova point guard and enter the NBA draft.
Wayns, however, never had any doubts his choice was the right one. Not immediately after he made it, not after he went undrafted in June’s draft and not after a strong performance in the Orlando Summer League failed to immediately secure him an invite to anyone’s training camp.
Turns out, worrying for Wayns would have been a waste of time. Tuesday the 76ers announced that they had signed the 6-2 Philadelphia native. The deal is for one-year.
“It’s going to be a great experience for me, I’m just so happy and excited that things worked out the way they did,” said Wayns. “I was confident that I was going to catch on with somebody. I knew I was going to play in the NBA. I just didn’t know where.” Turned out to be the team that he has followed all his life.
The two-time Catholic League MVP from Roman Catholic, Wayns played three seasons for coach Jay Wright at Villanova and appeared in 95 games averaging 12.5 points and 3.4 assists for his career. During his final season Wayns led the team at 17.6 points a game and also contributed 4.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds. He was also seventh in the nation in free throw shooting at 89.2 percent.
During his three-game stint in Orlando playing for the Magic last month, Wayns was one of the most impressive players during the week. In three games he averaged 11.7 points, 5.7 assists and 2.3 steals. He was aggressive taking the ball to the basket, hounding on defense and brought a tremendous amount of energy to the floor. He committed to play for Golden State in the Las Vegas Summer League, but tweaked his groin in Orlando and didn’t play for the Warriors.
“I thought I played well in Orlando and there were rumors going around that a team or two were looking to sign me,” said Wayns. “But nothing happened. Still I never lost confidence that things would work out. The Sixers talked to my agent (Andy Miller) and we got a contract. I was thinking the whole time of just going to training camp and trying to make a team, really without any security. This is an added bonus.”
Until training camp begins for the Sixers late next month, Wayns will do pretty much what he’s done for the past several summers.
“I’ll be in Philly, working out with former teammates and other players at Villanova,” he said. “I’ll also be doing whatever the Sixers want me to do. Whatever it takes.”
The opportunity will be there for Wayns with the Sixers as their roster doesn’t include any true point guard except for starter Jrue Holiday. While Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala can step in and handle the ball, having someone who is accustomed to running the point position will allow coach Doug Collins more options.