Penn's Rosen, Villanova's Wayns work out for Sixers in prep for NBA draft

Rosen
Rosen
Posted: May 23, 2012

ZACK ROSEN and Maalik Wayns shared a position and Big 5 first-team honors. Monday morning, the point guards from Penn and Villanova, respectively, shared the court at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine as the Sixers began their predraft workouts. Along with Iona's Scott Machado and Maryland's Terrell Stoglin, Wayns and Rosen went through ballhandling drills, light shooting, one-on-one situations, the usual workout fare.

Trying to predict what the Sixers or any team (other than the team that wins the lottery and announces its intention to take Kentucky's Anthony Davis before taking another breath) will do is hard enough on draft night, much less now.

For their part, the locals would be more than happy to stay here. Wayns (Roman Catholic, Villanova) was born here and Rosen (Penn) has become Philly after growing up in New Jersey.

"I'd be wearing the red, white and blue all over again," Rosen said. "Now that my Nets are in Brooklyn, this is like my home away from home."

Rosen has been a regular at Sixers games the last 4 years.

"Philly appreciates the hardworking man, so it fits my profile," he said.

Aren't the Penn guys who own the Sixers supposed to take Penn guys?

"Supposed to is a difficult phrase in sports as in life, as is should," Rosen said. "What should happen and what's supposed to happen doesn't always happen. This whole process is a crazy process. You've got to control what you can control, do what you can on a daily basis to improve."

Over the last few months, the only person who has gotten the Jeremy Lin question more often than Lin himself is Rosen, the Ivy League and Big 5 Player of the Year last season.

"It doesn't get any better than [Linsanity], for me, for him, for the league, just the overall perception of the type of basketball that's played in the Ivy League,'' Rosen said. "It's great that he did what he did to kind of pave the way for less inhibition evaluating guys like myself."

If Rosen gets with the right team, like last year's Big 5 Player of the Year, he could certainly succeed. Temple's Lavoy Allen is Exhibit A for what can happen with opportunity.

Wayns, Rosen and 42 others players were at the Nets' practice facility in New Jersey over the weekend to audition for all 30 NBA teams. It looked, Rosen said, "like an AAU event."

Rosen hurt his left thumb over the weekend, but kept playing.

"I didn't miss a game in 4 years," he said.

Rosen ended up as his school's all-time assist leader and was third in career scoring. As a senior, he had one of the great seasons in city history, scoring big because his team needed him to. Passing is actually the best part of his game, and he may have led the nation in "if" assists, as in "if" the shooters had made shots.

The best part of Wayns' game is his penetration. That the Wildcats could not shoot straight last season did not help his assist numbers, either. Put him on a court with shooters and that speed with the ball becomes a major asset. Wayns declared for the draft after his junior season and has had no second thoughts.

"I'm just living the dream right now, getting to work out, getting to meet [Sixers officials]," Wayns said.

Wayns was scheduled to fly later Monday to visit the Clippers. Then, it's on to Golden State and, he thinks, 15 more teams. He is not certain of the exact itinerary, but he knows he will be on many planes and in many hotel rooms over the next few weeks.

He has no idea where he might be drafted, but Allen's tale is an inspiration.

"Guys were saying he couldn't make it, he wouldn't be drafted," Wayns said. "He was the 50th pick in the draft and he's playing better than guys who went in the top 20, top 30. It's not about where you start. It about how you progress and where you finish."

There has never been any doubt that Wayns is an NBA-level athlete. Now, like Rosen and Allen, he just needs some team to believe.


Contact Dick Jerardi at jerardd@phillynews.com.

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