Of all of the players on the Villanova basketball team last year, Maalik Wayns arguably made the most significant improvements from the beginning of the season to the end. A supposed afterthought coming into the year with and firmly entrenched as starting guards, Wayns worked his way into the rotation by providing a great deal of tenacity and energy every time on the court. In other words, he was the Kyle Lowry of the 2009-2010 squad.
With his stellar play down the stretch last season, the expectations have grown dramatically for the sophomore guard from Roman Catholic in Philadelphia, PA. He still may not crack the opening starting lineup, but expect Wayns to put up starter-like figures this year.
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You may ask how he is going to do this with another loaded backcourt. If anyone’s going to do it, it’s Wayns. Simply put, he knows that he is going to beat the opponent by outworking them. Whether it’s diving on the floor for a loose ball, taking a charge, cheering from the bench, or shaking and baking, Wayns is not afraid to do all of the little things. He is the type of player that fuels a team singlehandedly.Although you may not believe it, it’s possible that Wayns most important contribution this year will be pushing Corey Fisher every day in practice. Fisher is now the go to guy, filling the void left by Scottie Reynolds, so it’s up to Wayns to challenge Fish and make him better. Maalik certainly won’t be afraid to knock him down every once in awhile, give a hard foul, or cross him over, because those
All in all, Wayns will be one of the key cogs in determining how well the Wildcats do this year. The knowledge and experiences he gained from last year’s freshman campaign will no doubt propel him into a more prominent role. Although he may not technically be a starter, he really is a starter and although only a sophomore now, I think we should all expect him to play more like a senior.