Welcome to our 2011 Villanova basketball season preview. We're going to be previewing a player per day from here on out - which will take us right up to the first exhibition game against New York Tech. Today, we preview junior Maalik Wayns.
Finally, we've arrived at the star of the 2011-2012 Villanova Wildcats. Cliches aside, Wayns really is the engine of this team. He's not only the best player on his own team, but he's one of the best in the best conference in the country. It is now Maalik Wayns' time on the Main Line, and he'll need to step up in his junior year.
Wayns came to Villanova with incredible hype from Roman Catholic in Philly, and he fits the mold of the prototypical Philadelphia guard like Kyle Lowry before him. Wayns is strong-bodied, a great ball-handler, one of the fastest guards in the country, and loves to get to the rim and play in-your-face defense. He'll need all that and more as the leader of this year's team.
|Minutes Per Game
With all of the fanfare and hype that Wayns brought to campus, it might have been hard for him to live up to it. His freshman season was modest, but he was also playing on a team with Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher, so he wasn't pressed into action too quickly. Even behind those guys, he put him impressive numbers for averaging 15 minutes a game.
His sophomore campaign saw a huge jump in production with the graduation of Reynolds as he just about doubled his numbers in every single statistical category. The main problem was his efficiency. His shooting % was way down, and now as the focal point of the offense, we can't have a repeat of that.
Wayns can shoot it from outside, but he isn't known for it. Still, without Fisher and Corey Stokes, he'll probably be taking his fair share of jumpers as defenses sag in on him to try and keep him out of the lane, where he is an absolutely lethal finisher and passer.
Jay Wright's version of the drive and kick offense is a perfect fit for Wayns. There aren't many defenders in the country that are going to keep him from blowing by them when he wants to, so the real benchmark for Leek will be how he does once he's there. 'Nova isn't blessed with shooters, something that other teams will surely know. Wayns will need to either finish or dish to the big men often, something I'm confident he can do.
This season, he's going to need to be both the primary scoring threat (16-20 ppg) and the primary distributor (4-5 apg). As I write these gaudy numbers I expect from Wayns, I'm cringing a bit. But we're not in a position this year to ask anything less of him. It's his team and his time - if he steps up, 'Nova can go places.
Next week, we will be talking to the rest of the writers here about their predictions for the season, the toughest game on the schedule, the game they are looking forward to the most, etc. Villanova basketball is back next Friday!
Previous player previews:
- Dallas Ouano & Nick McMahon
- Achraf Yacoubou
- Darrun Hilliard
- Ty Johnson
- Markus Kennedy
- JayVaughn Pinkston
- James Bell
- Dominic Cheek
- Maurice Sutton
- Mouphtaou Yarou