Rawle Alkins is returning for his sophomore season.
“After much thought and consideration, I have decided to continue my college basketball career back in Tucson at The University of Arizona,” the tweet reads. “Declaring for the NBA Draft has taught me more than I could have imagined and has been an incredible experience. I can’t wait to help the Wildcats win a national championship next year with a great team, great coach, and the most amazing fans in the world behind us!! Bear Down. #SAVAGELIFE”
Alkins declared for the NBA Draft on April 12, but did not hire an agent, leaving the door open to a return.
He attended the NBA Combine and worked out for a handful teams, but decided staying in school was his best option.
Alkins was widely projected to be a second-round pick or go undrafted.
His return is paramount for the Wildcats. Alkins averaged 10.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game as a freshman, proving to be a solid all-around player — and durable, too.
Alkins appeared in all 37 games (starting in 36 of them), and played through a gruesome finger injury in the NCAA Tournament.
Alkins was named to the All-Pac-12 Freshman Team and could become one of the best guards in college basketball in his second season.
He is expected to start alongside Allonzo Trier on the wing in 2017-18, giving the Wildcats a lethal 1-2 punch on the perimeter as they continue their search for their first Final Four appearance in the Sean Miller era.
Arizona is returning four key players from a season ago — Alkins, Trier, Dusan Ristic, and Parker Jackson-Cartwright — and a top-five recruiting class, plus UNC-Asheville transfer Dylan Smith.
The Wildcats will likely enter the season ranked in the Top 10 and the favorite to win the Pac-12 Conference.
Alkins’ return certainly won’t quell the lofty expectations.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire