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NBA Daily: Rawle Alkins, A Two-Way Player

Rawle Alkins knows that he has what it takes to succeed in the NBA.

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DeAndre Ayton received the lion’s share of the attention while at Arizona this past season, and rightfully so. He’s considered one of the top prospects in the 2018 NBA Draft and is expected to be a top two pick. The Wildcats did have a few other NBA prospects that went overlooked a little bit, however. One of those players is Rawle Alkins.

Alkins initially submitted his name for the draft last season after a solid freshman year. He didn’t hire an agent, however, and he ultimately ended up returning for his sophomore year. He’s seen the difference immediately, especially in terms of the feedback from NBA teams.

“Last year I didn’t really have any representation, so you don’t really get as much feedback,” Alkins told reporters at the NBA Draft Combine last week. “But the fact that now I know I’m all in after this day is over I’m gonna go talk to my agent, see what he thinks and go from there.”

Alkins emerged as the Wildcats third scoring option this past season behind Ayton and Allonzo Trier. He put up 13.1 points per game while shooting 35.9 percent from the three-point line. Aside from his scoring ability, he also emerged as a solid defender on the perimeter.

He also displayed a bit of a playmaking game, averaging 2.5 assists. He can put the ball on the floor and create for himself or for his teammates. It’s his play on both ends of the court that he hoped to showcase for NBA teams while at the combine.

“Just my ability to be a two-way player and just defending the basketball,” Alkins said. “That was my main focus, proving that I can defend some of the top guys in this draft.”

Prior to arriving at Arizona, Alkins was a star on the New York basketball scene. Considered a five-star recruit, he led Christ the King High School to three state titles. He had offers from most of the top basketball colleges in the country.

The Big Apple has long produced pro basketball players, and Alkins is looking to become the next on that list. It isn’t just their talent on the court that makes New York players stand out, it’s their mindset as well. That mental toughness that makes them equipped to handle the rigors of the NBA. It’s that gritty toughness that Alkins knows he can bring to the NBA.

“I just think New York guys are tough. I don’t know if they’re the toughest, but we’re all tough,” Alkins said, “You see Lance Stephenson, a lot of guys would be scared to go up against LeBron James. I wouldn’t say that Lance shut him down, but I think that fearless mentality that he had, a lot of guys don’t really have that. Guys get scared of LeBron and I love the fact that he’s not scared. He embraces it and that’s something that I want to bring to a team too as well.”

Being from New York, Alkins considers it a dream come true if he was able to play for one of his hometown teams. Although both New York teams are currently mired in rebuilding, those are situations he wouldn’t mind being a part of if given the opportunity.

“Yeah, I’ve been talking to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks. They’ve wanted to have me in for a workout,” Alkins said. “Nothing is scheduled right now, but I think that being a New York kid that would be cool to be home. Both of those teams are rebuilding so I’m excited.”

According to most current mock drafts, Alkins is widely projected to be drafted in the second-round. He does possess first-round talent, however. Whoever drafts him, no matter what spot he gets picked, some team is going to end up getting a steal of a player.

David Yapkowitz has been a staff writer for Basketball Insiders since 2017. Based in Los Angeles, he focuses on the Pacific Division as well as the NBA at large.

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