Rawle Alkins had no reason to think he was going to go undrafted.
The former Arizona star performed well at the NBA Combine and was listed in virtually every mock draft leading up to draft night. But 60 picks were made that day and he wasn’t one of them.
Alkins, who eventually signed with the Toronto Raptors as an undrafted free agent, said it was a “humbling experience.”
“I didn’t really expect that, but when it happened it was on to the next step,” he told reporters after his first Summer League game.*
“You can’t really think about it throughout the process, you have to just keep moving forward. And then with the Raptors, I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to compete in their Summer League and I’m just going to try to showcase my best and the rest is going to be history.”
Alkins is off to a good start with his new club. He scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in 14 minutes in his Summer League debut.
The Raptors lost 90-77, but they outscored the Pelicans by 14 points with Alkins on the court. He entered a few minutes into the third quarter and helped Toronto make the final score respectable.
“That’s just the type of player I am,” he said. “I’m a competitor. I don’t like losing so when coach gave me the opportunity on the court, I just tried to give it my all.”
Alkins went 4-for-9 from the field, made two 3s, and threw down his signature reverse dunk on a breakaway.
He said the gameplay was “definitely faster than college.”
“I was just looking at the statistics before I got here and I didn’t realize that I took nine shots,” he said. “You play so fast you don’t realize how much stuff you’re doing at once.
“You’re playing against better players, playing against professional NBA players that’s been there for one, two years, you’re playing against overseas guys trying to get a contract. It’s just a great opportunity at the end of the day.”
Rawle Alkins at it again with the highlight dunks pic.twitter.com/CLPZaSH1D0— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) July 6, 2018
Alkins said he is trying to showcase his competitiveness and defensive prowess at Summer League. As an undrafted free agent, there’s no doubt he faces an uphill battle for a roster spot, but he knows it’s not an insurmountable one.
“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” he said.
“The Raptors, when they called me on draft night, they explained to me how Fred VanVleet had the same thing. He went undrafted, he showcased himself in Summer League, and he proved that he was ready for the NBA and I think he just signed a big contract.
“They kind of look at me on that type of level, but at the same time, I’m grateful for any opportunity that presents itself.”
*All quotes transcribed from Raptors.com