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Philadelphia Daily News

ALL’S WELL in Wayns’ World.
Really, how it could not be?

Not only is Maalik Wayns, a 6-1, 192-pound senior point guard at Roman Catholic High, considered the city’s top scholastic basketball player.

His name also can be found in lofty locations on national rankings lists and he is signed to play college ball for a program (Villanova) that pretty much owns the local spotlight.

Is there pressure? Of course. Does Wayns realize that some people this season will attend Roman’s games mostly (only?) because of his presence? He’s no dummy.

He also knows this: The best stars are those who keep evvvvvvverything in perspective.

In the midst of the holiday season, at an out-of-the-way college (Gwynedd-Mercy) 21 miles from Roman, an overflow crowd last night turned out to watch Wayns and the Cahillites battle North Catholic, the defending Catholic League champion, in a Red Division contest.

Playingwise, Wayns satisfied the fans by totaling 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds in a 58-55 win that wound up being hairy.

Though Roman led by 50-39 with 4:47 remaining, a partial stall did not produce the desired results. There were turnovers and missed shots at one end. At the other, among other things, Jaleel Mack buried a trio of treys.

His last, with 4.4 seconds remaining, moved North within 56-55. But on the inbound play, following a timeout at 3.8, the Falcons allowed Andre Horne to break free downcourt unattended and Kevin Regan, the football quarterback, hit him with a pass for an easy, buzzer-beating layup.

For those who paid attention, Wayns also provided assurance that, yes, he’s enjoying himself and that his head is not even close to basketball-sized.

Fourth quarter. Wayns got way ahead of the field. The chance to uncork a bring-the-house down dunk was there. He motored to the hoop. Left his feet and began to soar . . .

Oops. Clang. The ball slammed hard against the rim. Baskets are still 10 feet high. Not 9 1/2.

“I could tell as I jumped that it wasn’t gonna work,” Wayns said.

Luckily for Wayns, Roman maintained possession and there was a stoppage in play. As the house buzzed and he peeled toward the sideline opposite Roman’s bench, Maalik smiled broadly.

Other stars might have mumbled curse words under their breath. Might have done something – wiped supposedly sweaty hands on pants, for instance – to steer the fault someplace else. Not Maalik Wayns. Not the city’s newest megastar. He smiled.

Because? Read the rest of this entry »


Rakeem Christmas opened the Catholic League Blue Division basketball season with a bang for North Catholic last night.
Christmas recorded a triple-double and led the Falcons past visiting Monsignor Bonner, 67-52, on the brand new floor at North’s Pit.

Christmas contributed 16 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 blocked shots for the Falcons, who pulled away in the third quarter with an 18-6 scoring run.

In another league game, Anthony Keiter struck for 23 points and propelled Archbishop Ryan to a 56-43 win over visiting Cardinal O’Hara.

Public. Tyrone Garland broke loose for 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and rallied Bartram to a 66-61 win over host Central.

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Though Relatively New To The Sport, Sophomore Already One Of The Best Prospects In Philly
By Brendan F. Quinn, The Bulletin
Published: Friday, December 12, 2008
Philadelphia — The journey has been nothing like he ever dreamt.

In the beginning, he was timid, hesitant to explore his own skills and athleticism. But time has given birth to some confidence.

He’s almost there.

Rakeem Christmas is ready to blossom.

Having traveled a challenging road that led him from New Jersey to the Virgin Islands to Philadelphia, the North Catholic sophomore is about to take the city by storm. Those in basketball circles have uttered his name often since he arrived in town three years ago. “This kid has everything,” they’d say. And indeed he does.

Standing a hair over 6-foot-8 and checking in at 227 pounds, Christmas’ wingspan stretches more than 7 feet. Basketball coaches love to say that you can’t teach size and athleticism. Well, Christmas has both.

“He’s just starting to come into his own,” said North Catholic coach Mike McCarron. “When he does, I really believe that he will be one of the best players to come out of the Catholic League in a long, long time.”

Before we look to Christmas’ future, let’s go back to his past. Originally born in Irvington, N.J., he and his mother moved to St. Croix when he was 3 years old. While in the Virgin Islands, his mother, Landra “Jenny” Hamid, passed away due to renal failure at the age of 28. He remained in St. Croix and was raised there by his grandmother.

Through grade school, Christmas excelled in baseball. But as he became a better pitcher, he also grew taller and taller. That’s when the hardwood came calling. He picked up a basketball for the first time in seventh grade and never looked back. He was already 6-4.

At 13 years old, Christmas was too old to play as an eighth grader at his school in St. Croix. His adolescence was dotted with occasional trips back to the states to visit family. But it was clear that the time had come for a permanent visit. Christmas packed his bags and moved to Philadelphia.

Here, Amira Hamid was waiting. His aunt would take on the role of his legal guardian. Hamid’s first order of business was to enroll her nephew in the eighth grade at George W. Pepper Middle School. Soon after, high school basketball coaches got word of the kid from the Virgin Islands. Christmas could do two things — jump and run. He was void of any legitimate talent. But that meant nothing to area coaches.

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Dear Diary,

This week had a lot going on…
I got a surprise pitbull puppy for my birthday. I wasn’t expecting it at all so I was really shocked by it. He’s 2 months old and after a couple name choices I’ve decided to call him ‘Roc’. Don’t ask why? lol School is going well. Staying on top of my work, doing chores, practicing and now being responsible for my own dog can sometimes be tiring but I’m sure I’ll be okay.
We drove to Maryland for the DTLR Hoops Festival. It was our season opener against Wallbrook. It was pretty fun playing against Roscoe Smith. I did well in the game, had a couple dunks and rebounds. This week I’m back to practicing to make sure I continue getting better.
Till next time,
-Rakeem ‘Roc’ Christmas
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