Rawle Alkins was the talk of the NBA Combine on day one and efficient in the scrimmage on day two.
It’s the media’s job to report facts, to explain what fans may not understand about sports, to predict for fun drafts and commitments. Add to that diligent research talking to other experts personally to make educated guesses.
It’s the athlete’s role to rise to or surpass high bars set for them by the experts. Or, to prove the experts wrong. A lot of times the media gets it right but isn’t it sweet when athletes rise above expectations and prove folks wrong. That seemed to happen this week with Rawle Alkins.
For the NBA Draft, there are four Wildcats who fall in this category and one who doesn’t. The ESPN2 announcers are calling Lauri Markkanen “The Unicorn” of the NBA Draft” because he possesses skills no other player possesses. Rawle Alkins, Kobi Simmons, Chance Comanche, and Kadeem Allen all need to prove some if not most the experts wrong. Eric Townsend will bring you more on Simmons and Allen this weekend.
More from Arizona Wildcats
- How Wildcats Fans Can Claim $200 INSTANT Bonus at BetMGM Betting $10 Right Now
- Last-Minute Game Information Arizona Football vs Mississippi State
- Arizona Football dominates NAU in their Season Opener
- Former Wildcat Nick Foles named an Honorary Captain
- Caesars Arizona Promo Code: 5 Weeks of $50 Bonus Bets Backing Wildcats!
We have no idea what is going on with Comanche right now, but his family is very positive, so things must be better than reported. Simmons proved he has skills that give him big a big upside. Allen was solid in the scrimmages, but we didn’t hear too much buzz about it.
Alkins is mulling his options.
Yesterday we reported on the all the positive media sentiment we could find. They expressed the opposite of what was a wide-spread report on some NBA Execs opinions before the Combine gathered by ESPN Jeff Goodman.
Some even mentioned he was dominating the scrimmage game by getting to the rim and showing off his range in shooting skills.
Kevin O’Connor, NBA Draft expert on The Ringer had this to say:
Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo wrote his thoughts about day one of the NBA Combine:
"“With a stellar first half and a high score of 18 points in the first game of the day, Alkins continued to make a strong case for himself. His decision-making, ability to attack the rim and potential to develop into a very good shooter stood out in the Combine environment. He’s built some buzz around the league and presently sits in late first round conversations for some teams.”"
Alkins 10-inch hand size measurement and 6′ 8.75″ wingspan came in better than expected. As a comparison, De’Aaron Fox measured in with a wingspan of 6′ 9″ and Fox is a top five projected draft pick by Draft Express. Shooting guard Luke Kennard, who is projected to go No. 18 in the first round, has a measured wingspan of 6’5 ¼“.
Alkins measured 11 percent body fat which was the same as Isaiah Briscoe. And that would be a problem if he was lethargic and couldn’t transition quickly. But he proved that wasn’t the case, so why focus on that measurement?
Even Lonzo Ball took notice and gave him props. He should know how good Alkins is or not since he played with him (Adidas All-American Game) and against him in the Pac-12.
Still, some experts continue to discuss his height, and they say he doesn’t have a position in the NBA. Regardless, at least four NBA teams are going to work him out and see for themselves. Thankfully NBA scouts aren’t looking at one stat or another. They look at a player in total.
We asked Alkins what his goal was coming into the Combine, “Just to play hard and just be myself and show scouts what I can do.”
In game one, he scored 18 points (seven for 10 with two three’s), as well as putting up a stat in every column in 21:19 minutes. He played the small forward position. So maybe that’s the NBA position he should play?
In game two he wasn’t offered a lot of minutes to play and had to switch teams at one point when a few players got hurt, but he was efficient in the minutes he played. He scored four points and one rebound and played mostly defense. Rawle has those active hands you hear about all the time. He can shoot from anywhere in a halfcourt which is maybe why some seem to have a problem determining what position he should play.
But what about the intangibles? Like being able to overcome obstacles and push through when there is a ton of pressure?
Alkins has put himself out there so far. He took risks and he played in two scrimmage games which a lot of players didn’t do. Fans argue back and forth about whether or not anything at the combine counts. OF COURSE IT DOES!
Now, this isn’t the first time Rawle has had to prove folks wrong. If he hadn’t transferred schools, he most probably would have been a McDonald’s All-American. But that didn’t happen. So Alkins played in the Adidas Global game (26 points in 20 minutes).
He also took part in the Ballislife All-American game where he lost in the dunk contest to Terrance Ferguson in the finals. Nonetheless, he impressed the crowd with his play. Alkins played with many of the players who he competed with at the Combine this week in that game as well.
In the Ballislife All-American game, he was literally the only player playing defense. He is unassuming, so you don’t notice him when he’s on the bench, but then he starts playing. His tenacity and determination start showing through.
While writing this piece, it reminded me of a couple of years ago when I was writing about T.J. McConnell. McConnell didn’t have the luxury of going back to college, but he wasn’t even invited to the Combine until someone talked sense into the NBA.
The one thing all the media had to point to as an issue was his height, that and that he was old at 22 and 23. Wildcats fans, who lived through every minute of his career at Arizona, knew more about McConnell. They knew he was the heart and head of the team. He was one of the most intense leaders who held his teammates accountable as he groomed many players for the NBA.
Well, things are looking up for Alkins, seems his defensive skills are getting him noticed, and God knows, NBA teams need defensive players. The Lakers for one could really benefit from more defense.
Well, it’s not over. If he does return to Arizona, he will enjoy his new teammates, and he will get some leadership experience as well as hopefully get to the Final Four with his mentor Sean Miller. Or, he has gotten enough interest that he moves into the first round or early second round of the NBA Draft projections. It’s a possibility.
Did Rawle do enough to get the attention he needs to cut the cord and enter the draft with an agent? Well, he sure did more than many thought he would do. As for me? I saw it coming, just saying.