In a surprising outcome, Rawle Alkins was not selected in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Most mock drafts predicted the Arizona Wildcats guard would be picked in the early- to mid-second round. The good news is he will be signing with the Toronto Raptors, and still has a chance to earn an NBA roster spot.
Ex-teammate Allonzo Trier was not drafted, either, though that was expected. They join Brandon Ashley, Kobi Simmons, and Chance Comanche as Wildcats who left school early only to go undrafted. Interestingly enough, Colorado’s George King and UCLA’s Thomas Welsh were selected.
Alkins averaged 13.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game as a sophomore at Arizona. He shot 43 percent from the field, 36 percent from 3, and 72 percent from the free-throw line.
Those shooting percentages were slightly lower than the ones he posted as a freshman, though part of that can probably be attributed to a foot injury. Alkins broke his foot in late September, which forced him to miss the first nine games of the season and a few more later in the season after he experienced soreness.
It took a while for Alkins to get up to full speed after the injury, and he was noticeably slower on defense as a sophomore.
Still, Alkins displayed a well-rounded game at Arizona. He could pass, shoot, and drive, and rebounds well for his size. And when he was healthy, he showed flashes of being a tenacious perimeter defender, using his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame to his advantage.
Perhaps Alkins’ biggest weakness is that he does not have an elite skill, so it will be interesting to see what kind of role he carves out at the next level — if he gets there.
Before the draft, Chris Vernon of The Ringer said he is 100 percent confident Alkins “will not fail” in the NBA.
“He had a foot issue that hampered his career at Arizona, but this kid has so many attributes that I love,” he wrote. “Unstoppable motor, built like a linebacker, good-looking shot, and do-or-die playing style. He has been projected too low since this process started. Alkins will be a fan favorite wherever he plays.”
It’s hard to disagree with Vernon’s last point.
Alkins, a Brooklyn native, endeared himself to Arizona fans from the get-go. He dunked over Sean Miller at his first Red-Blue game, rode a scooter with a broken foot in the second, and created the now-famous Savage Life movement (which will be a clothing line, by the way.)
Even when Alkins wasn’t playing his best, effort was never the issue.
“It’s very hard to judge this year because he missed so much time,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said in late May.
“And although he had a very good season, I think he could have had a great season and some of that will really show itself out this summer in spring when he’s healthy and they (the NBA) really can compare his ability to others. I think he will be an NBA player for a long time.”