Pick up games around Philadelphia is where you can find class of 2009 point guard Maalik Wyans. The 6-foot point guard has next and he's coming on strong as the next floor general from the guard-friendly city.
Wayans, a Roman Catholic High School prospect, has learned from the guys that have come before him. Lately, he's been playing with the City of Brotherly Love alumni. Wayne Ellington, Kyle Lowry, Malik Allen and others are home for the summer and Wayans is picking their brain on and off the court and stepping into the shoes they left.
"I'm like every other Philly kid out there," he said. "I want to play hard and live up to the tradition of the guys that came before me. It's a rich tradition and in order to live up to it, you have to stay in the gym. That's why Kyle Lowry has told me. You have to always outwork the next guy."
Wayans has picked Lowry's brain about the game and how to keep improving. The former Villanova star and current Memphis point guard has taken the three-star floor general under his wing.
"It's great having him to work with. He told me to just get in the gym and stay in it. All that kind of stuff. But most importantly, he said you have to be just as good off the court and work hard off it, too.
"He has always told me to pick the school where you can play and go to work and play hard. He said to find a place where you can win. No one wants to play early but lose."
Options are strong for the class of 2009 guard. Wayans said he has offers from West Virginia and Pittsburgh while Virginia, Memphis, Villanova, Georgia Tech and Penn State are recruiting him. Wayans said West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Villanova round out his top four.
"From day one, coach (Bob) Huggins and (assistant) coach (Billy) Hahn have been recruiting me. The day coach Huggins got the job and hired coach Hahn, they offered me. They are all about loyalty and they are showing me that," Wayans said of West Virginia. "Plus, ever since I've known coach Hahn, who is a Philly guy, he said he wanted the chance to coach me if the opportunity presented itself. Now it has."
Pittsburgh is attractive, says Wayans.
"(Philly guard) Brad Wannamaker is going there and he keeps telling me that I need to be a Panther," he said. "I'm looking at them because they play that hard-nosed basketball and play defense from end to end. They compete on every play. Plus, I like Jamie Dixon coach (Oliver) Antigua. They are good guys."
As a Philadelphia native, Wayans has been on Villanova's campus a number of times.
"I like them a whole lot. I got to Nova all the time," Wayans said. "They have a great coaching staff and it's in the Big East. I know everything about the school and how they like to play. My only question is about the guards. They have a lot of guards in the classes before me. I'll have to look at that."
Virginia has had success with Sean Singletary, a Philly native. Wayans has a similar build and game as the UVa star.
"Virginia plays my style and they have a nice, new arena," Wayans said. "They have always recruited Philly pretty good and I like what they have to offer. I'll look at them."
A decision is not in his immediate plans, he said. Summer ball is. Wayans said he and his Roman Catholic teammates are playing in Villanova's team camp and will also participate in the Rbk U camp in July.