It’s a little early to begin speculation for the upcoming 2011 NBA draft, but there is already plenty of talk about the possibility of Villanova sophomore Maalik Wayns leaving early.
It would be a rarity in the Jay Wright era; an early entry has only occurred once during his tenure and that was with Kyle Lowry in 2006, who took his talents to the NBA after just two seasons.
Nonetheless, scouts are raving about Maalik’s potential at the next level. He’s strong, exceptionally quick, and athletic enough to compensate for his slightly undersized 6’1" frame.
Nbadraft.net currently puts Maalik at 19th in the upcoming draft rankings and the third best point guard overall. Draftexpress.com ranks him at No. 60 in terms of NBA prospects and ninth among all NCAA sophomores.
We saw flashes of this potential throughout his freshman season, despite being forced to come off the bench in order to make way for Scottie Reynolds and his massive spotlight.
However, from the beginning of Villanova’s downhill spiral in early February until the end of the season, Wayns drastically cut down on the number of shots he took. As a result, he averaged just 3.91 points per game in the final twelve games.
The decreased usage of Wayns may not be the direct cause of last season’s failures, but it was certainly a contributing factor. As his shot total went down, Scottie’s went up, which goes to show how reliant the team became on Reynolds. This right here was the beginning of the end.
Yet with the departure of Scottie Reynolds, Wayns will now have the opportunity to shine.
He and Corey Fisher will lead the back court and likely alternate running the point, providing a valuable teaching point for our sophomore phenom. It will allow him to improve the negative assist-to-turnover ratio he posted last year and develop better instincts in our half-court offense.
When all is said and done, Wayns leaving after this season is a definite possibility. He will need to prove to scouts that he can run a team of our caliber on his own and consistently fuel our offense through both passing and scoring.
The fundamentals are there. And there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he will find himself in the NBA some day. If Kyle Lowry made the jump, then so too can Maalik Wayns. It’s all just a matter of when.
This article is also featured on www.novabasketballreport.com.