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Arizona basketball: NBA executives feel Rawle Alkins should return to school

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Will it happen though?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Arizona vs North Dakota Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The on-court portion of the NBA Draft Combine begins Thursday, and there will be three Arizona Wildcats there.

Kadeem Allen, Kobi Simmons, and Rawle Alkins all received and accepted invites to Chicago to showcase their skills, and in Alkins’ case, get feedback to decide if he should return to Tucson for a second season of college basketball.

Alkins is one of 14 players at the festivities that has not yet signed with an agent. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman spoke with NBA execs about each of the 14 players to get their feedback before the combine started, and here’s what they had to say about Alkins:

A 6-foot-5 guard, Alkins averaged 10.9 PPG and 4.9 RPG. He is torn about whether to leave or go back to school. The Wildcats have Allonzo Trier coming back and will bring in talented big man DeAndre Ayton. Coach Sean Miller also might get Pittsburgh transfer Cam Johnson, so that could further complicate Alkins' role this coming season. "He needs to go back to school," every single NBA executive interviewed said. One added: "I love how hard he plays, but he doesn't really have a position."

Range: Mid to late second round

NBA says: Back to school

It’s interesting to me that the phrase “every single NBA executive interviewed said” is in there. So there wasn’t one that felt like Alkins should remain in the draft despite being a projected second rounder.

Actually, all but two of the 14 players get a “back to school” rating. Those only two that don’t are Caleb Swanigan and Semi Ojeleye. Swanigan got a “leave school now” while Ojeleye got a “split decision”.

Alkins is currently listed as the 47th overall pick on DraftExpress’ 2018 mock draft. Trier is 36th and Ayton is 3rd in that same mock. The official website of the Orlando Magic compares Alkins to Lance Stephenson:

They have similar body types, movements and styles. Like Stephenson, Alkins is a very aggressive, persistent and energetic player. He’s fearless and ferocious when he attacks the paint. He also has supreme strength for a guy 6’4.

The deadline for players without an agent to withdraw from the NBA Draft is May 24th, giving Alkins about a two weeks after the combine to digest everything and come up with a final decision. It seems likely that he would choose to return to Arizona or not sooner than that, especially with some of the recruiting things going on around this team right now.