Rawle Alkins has only a week left to decide whether to return to the Arizona Wildcats or not next season, and he may use every minute of it.
“It depends on the feedback I get,” UA’s maybe-sophomore-to-be said last week at the NBA Combine where … the feedback was pretty good.
Alkins bulldozed his way to 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting in his first Combine game, then had four points in a more limited appearance the next day. He also said he had encouraging meetings with NBA clubs, some of whom liked his “positionless” game.
Since the Combine, Alkins scheduled a workout with his hometown Nets and reportedly is headed to Toronto next.
Alkins said during the Combine he expected to work out for three teams privately and probably will go down to the wire of the May 24 deadline to withdraw from the draft.
While his workouts could help Alkins land a legitimate shot at an NBA roster, he’s projected most commonly as a second-round pick, meaning he will likely need to spend at least part of next season in the D-League while he continues to work on his skill level and shooting.
That could make it particularly hard to decide what his best move is next, at least the way former Arizona staffers Jesse Mermuys and Matt Brase see it.
“That is a really hard question because I’m an Arizona guy and I’m obviously pro the program — anything that’s best for Arizona,” said Mermuys, now a Lakers assistant coach. “But at the same time I coached in the D-League and I do value it and it’s a great place to develop. It’s just a personal choice. He’s going to get great coaching with Sean (Miller, UA coach) and he’s going to get great coaching in the D-League. It’s a really undervalued league.”
Brase, now the head coach of the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers, was on the fence about Alkins’ next move, too.
“Rawle’s got to do what’s best for him,” Brase said. “I’m a big proponent of the D-League and also an Arizona guy. Sean does a great job and Rawle’s going to get better wherever he goes.
“No matter where he’s at next year, he needs to grow and Sean is going to develop him in Tucson. If he goes to D-League, he’s gotta prepare for a career, not just a job. You’ve got to keep going every year.”
Here’s a look at the two roads Alkins can start heading down next week: