Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
Following in the footsteps of many Philadelphia ballplayers who have come from some of the city’s worst neighborhoods to reach the NBA before him, Maalik Wayns is giving back.
Wayns, who played for Villanova from 2009-2012 and is currently with the Los Angeles Clippers, is hosting his his first-ever basketball camp this Friday and Saturday, Aug. 16 and 17, at Simons Rec Center in the West Oak Lane section of the city.
The two days will each have a different focus. Friday will focus on children aged 5-14 that have learning disabilities like obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism, anger management disorders and other issues.
The second day will be an invitational elite camp, with 30-40 top area high school ballplayers from Pennsylvania, N.J. and Delaware. Future Division I players Rashann London (Roman Catholic), Ben Bentil (St. Andrew’s), Traci Carter (Life Center), Samir Doughty (Math, Civics & Sciences) and more are on the list.
While the second day of the camp will have a lot of big names like Dion Waiters, Marcus and Markieff Morris, Kyle Lowry and others helping out, it’s the first day that really stands out to Wayns.
“Where I’m from, a lot of kids are less fortunate,” he told CoBL. “So I just wanted to give back and hopefully give them the opportunity to see things that I couldn’t see when I was younger.”
The elite camp will feature drills led by Tony Fulton, who trains professional athletes like Scoop Jardine, Flip Murray, Mustafa Shakur, Jason Avant and LeSean McCoy as well as Wayns. The kids will be working out alongside Wayns, Waiters and others, something that event director Kyle Sample thinks sets the camp apart from the kids’ perspective.
“Getting them to come out and play and work out against him, I think that separates (it),” Sample said. “You hear about Chris Paul and LeBron and those guys playing with their guys at their camps, but you don’t really hear too much about that with the camps in Philly.”
After the workouts, the players will be split up into teams for the afternoon session, to get a chance to work on the skills they practiced in the morning.
Sample is also one of the directors of the Team Philly AAU program, which Wayns played for while he was a student at Roman Catholic. One of several Team Philly players who went on to play at Villanova–Kyle Lowry, Reggie Redding, Shane Clark and Tony Chennault are also in that category–Wayns worked closely with Sample and Team Philly co-director Lonnie Lowry to help put the event together.
“Maalik is very involved with Team Philly. He played with Team Philly, he checks in on them every tournament,” Sample said. “Me and Lonnie try to help out with Maalik’s situation as much as possible, so anything he’s involved in, we’re involved in. The biggest thing is the launch of his website, TheMaalikWayns.com, which we’ll be launching the day of the camp.”
The camp will run from 9:30 AM until 1:30 PM on Friday, Aug. 16 and 9:30 AM-2:30 PM on Saturday, Aug. 17. All children and players participating will get a t-shirt, food and beverages for lunch as well as a “healthy snack.” Simons Rec Center is located at 7200 Woolston Avenue in Philadelphia.