Wayns eager to play for his hometown 76ers

Posted: October 02, 2012

With all the additions on a 76ers team that will enter the season with heightened expectations, a player who has caught the eye of the veterans is free-agent rookie point guard Maalik Wayns.

Electing to bypass his senior season at Villanova, the Roman Catholic High School product was not selected in the NBA draft. But he made a favorable impression playing for the Orlando Magic summer-league team, averaging 11.7 points before signing with the Sixers.

"At first I thought it was just a training-camp invite, but I then signed two years with a partial guarantee," Wayns, 21, said during media day on Monday. "It's a good situation for me, and I have been learning from Jrue all summer and am ready to go."

Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday is the acknowledged leader of the offense, and he has been among the many veterans impressed with Wayns during open-court workouts in the summer.

"He is really tough but has a lot to learn," Holiday said. "You are thinking Philly point guards like Jameer [Nelson], real tough point guards who get the job done."

What has been a welcome addition is Wayns' blinding speed on a team a little short in that department.

"You see guys like [Milwaukee's] Brandon Jennings and [Washington's] John Wall who can attack the open court, and Maalik definitely has that," Holiday said. "Going up against that speed is going to help me."

Sixers forward Thaddeus Young has been similarly impressed.

"I was texting Coach [Doug Collins] the other day, and I told him I think Maalik is a steal for us," Young said.

Wayns opened some eyes with his level of aggressiveness during summer workouts.

"He has been a real floor general," Young said.

Wayns also has made an impression on the person who matters most - the coach.

"I love him," Collins said. "He gives us a different element and gives us speed."

Though Holiday will have the bulk of the point-guard minutes, it is possible that Wayns and veteran Royal Ivey will battle for potential backup minutes.

"When training camp gets started, every single day we will have competition at a position," Collins said.

Wayns said he can't wait to take part in training camp, which begins Tuesday at St. Joseph's.

"It is incredible being a Philadelphia 76er from Philadelphia, never leaving the city," said Wayns, who averaged 17.6 points as a junior at Villanova. "It's my city, and I love it, and I am a Sixers fan at heart, and now I have ended up a Sixer."

Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com. Follow @sjnard on Twitter.


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