Talk about being unplugged…Slam Online went in-depth with Arizona Basketball shooting guard Rawle Alkins who is also moving up in 2018 NBA Mock Drafts.
After Arizona Basketball Guard Rawle Alkins had committed to coming back to play for Sean Miller, he stopped by to the Slam Dome in the New York City Slam Online offices for an interview. Rawle went in-depth on what the NBA GM’s and scouts told him and the process he went through to make his decision. This was a great window into how Alkins journey that was very insightful. Full props to Frank from Slam Online.
“In the mind of Rawle Alkins is just San Antonio 2018, it’s just winning that Championship, winning it for the Arizona community, winning it for Tucson and winning it for the coaches.” This how Alkins started out the interview. We…can…dig…it! (Think Shaquille O’Neal saying, “Can you dig it?????”)
What Alkins heard from the NBA was both positive and encouraging, but did not give him enough encouragement to leave school. He was looking to hear a unanimous chorus of ‘yes it’s time’ comments. Although he was told by some teams that they would pick him in this draft, and others said that they see him as a 13-year veteran, there were some who explained Alkins should go back to school and that they will be excited about him next year.
Arizona Wildcats Basketball
Nevertheless, after his tremendous display at his NBA Combine game, he was trending on Twitter, and it did make him feel good. He felt he competed well against the best and will be able to do so going forward.
It was a great confidence booster. “It’s about timing, it’s not just about going whenever you want,” explained Alkins, “I feel confident in my decision, and I think I made the best decision possible for me, and I cannot wait until next year.” Alkins wants to go high in the draft. He has those type of goals, so he must have heard something very promising to go back to school.
Alkins wanted to come back to give Miller and the die-hard fans in Tucson a championship, “The best fans in the world, in Tucson, they love basketball, every game is sold out.”
Bottom line, Alkins knows he is getting a great experience on campus and in Tucson as far as learning how to deal with the media, sharing with fans on the street and on campus, and playing in a packed house every night. He understands that because there is no NBA Team in Tucson, the UofA basketball players are the focus of the town, and he embraces it, “It helps you represent yourself in a great way and know how to react when you get that kind of attention instead of it all coming at you at once,” said Rawle, “It’s something we prepare for.”
He explained to Frank in New York that because there is no NBA Team in Tucson, the UofA basketball players need to embrace that they are the only game in town and it helps them become a better pro. “It helps you represent yourself in a great way,” said Rawle, “And know how to react when you get that kind of attention instead of it all coming at you at once…It’s something we prepare for.”
“In the mind of Rawle Alkins is just San Antonio 2018, it’s just winning that Championship, winning it for the Arizona community, winning it for Tucson and winning it for the coaches.” Rawle Alkins
Alkins is proud of his New York roots, and he is one of a few New Yorker’s entering the draft in 2018 including Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo (Queens Village, NY) and University of Texas freshman Mohamed Bamba (Harlem, NY). “I think that it shows that New York City has never left. I think that NY has been slept on a bit kinda, and it shows we have a lot of great athletes, players,” said Alkins.
Through this interview, we found out something surprising. Namely, the 220.6-pound Alkins did not start lifting weights in high school, “I wouldn’t lift weights because I thought it would stunt your growth,” said Rawle, “Freshman year of college, that was my first time. I never lifted before my freshman year, and the first couple weeks it was tough..over time you start to get used to it, and you start to love it.” He loves it because he sees the results, and so do we! Imagine what a second year of lifting weights could do?
A fun fact that came out of the interview, and this is important, Rawle is preparing for the Red and Blue Game Dunk contest, he wants to outdo his ‘jump over coach Miller’ dunk. We are thankful for that King Rawle and cannot wait for that moment.
Here is the full podcast interview where he talks about his relationships with the Ball family and gives his thoughts on a lot of different subjects:
Rawle reiterated in the SLAM interview that his former teammate and friend Lauri Markkanen helped him promote the Save Life by yelling out “Savage Life” when exiting interviews. But the meaning of the Savage Life goes much deeper. Here is how King Rawle broke it down for us:
"“I use it in terms of like motivation and just thinking as a Savage before a game or before any situation. Cuz Savage doesn’t have to really mean aggressive, there’s a lot to it. Like if you think of Savage, you can think of like me and you just having that mentality that we’re going to do whatever we can to get something done.”"
2018 NBA Mock Drafts
In other King Rawle news…two sports writers have inserted Alkins in the top 16 picks of the 2018 NBA Draft in early predictions. Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated put Alkins at No. 16 to join the Indiana Pacers who just drafted two Bruins including TJ Leaf and Ike Anigbogu:
"Another year at Arizona in a larger offensive role could really help his stock, given how cluttered the backcourt was at times last season. He combines size and athleticism nicely, and teams like his intangibles and competitiveness on both sides of the ball. He’s a well-rounded player with a good chance to land in the first round."
Woo put 12 freshmen ahead of Alkins. A lot can change between now and then, and the freshman will have to prove themselves whereas Alkins has already proved himself even in the NBA Combine.
In a separate mock draft, Bleacher Report’s Maurice Molton put Alkins at No. 15 to the Philadelphia 76ers.
If multiple teams were excited about drafting Alkins this season, and he possibly could have gone in the first round in 2017, why wouldn’t Alkins go as a Lottery Pick in 2018? Next year’s NBA Draft will have 14 lottery picks according to Tankathon.com. If he is already projected to go at 15 or 16, 14 or higher should be a no brainer or a great probability.
Alkins already has NBA executives wanting to draft him, one more year of seasoning, building up and trimming down, and it will be King Rawle all dressed up in a sleek meaningful suit in red loafers putting on an NBA Lid. I for one wouldn’t put it past him. Bear Down Rawle, the Savage Life lives on!