It's official. Rawle Alkins will be joining the Arizona Wildcats.
While no one was worried about him wavering since his commitment on March 7, the days since National Signing Day have been a different story. Arizona fans have held their breath, but now they can let out a sigh of relief knowing that their player is locked in and not going anywhere.
In Alkins, the Wildcats get a 6-foot-5, 210 pound bruising guard out of New York who will bring toughness on defense and athleticism in the open court to a team that lacked both last year. Furthermore, his ability to rebound and shut down defenders could flash similarities of Nick Johnson (we'll see what happens at the beginning of the season before we actually use that comparison).
While he's a great scorer, he does have some issues with his jump shot (it's flat), but a summer with Sean Miller and his coaching staff should be able to tweak it enough to where it makes him a threat next season.
The New York guard visited Tucson unofficially on January 27, seeing them lose for the first time in three seasons in McKale Center. That moment stuck with him, as he later wrote in USA Today blog:
The first time I went I was there for the Oregon game when they lost at home. Before that game they were 49-0 at home and when they lost I was like man I don’t want to be bad luck! Haha!
After the game those guys were in there crying and everything like that because it would’ve been Coach (Sean) Miller’s 300th win. Coach Miller was saying that he hopes this doesn’t affect their recruitment of me, but I told him I love the fact that one loss is like the world ended! I love that because I’m a winner. And winning is the only option. Honestly, seeing their reaction to losing was a high point of the visit for me.
Coach Miller told me this one quote, he told me, "With team success comes individual success." That stuck with me. I think too many times we focus on the bigger picture, but to get to that bigger picture you have to go through tonight and tomorrow.
That’s what I love about Arizona, they never get ahead of themselves. That’s what they’re about.
Apparently for Miller, even when you lose, you really win.
On the Wildcats next season, Alkins will probably swing between the two-guard and small forward position depending on who is with him on the court. But regardless of who's playing beside him, you can bet the incoming guard is going to give you everything he has and make life miserable for the opposing player lining up against him.