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Saturday / December 16.
  • In Return Home, Rawle Alkins Wins MVP, Says Kobi Simmons Recruiting Him to Arizona

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    Having landed one guard in the Class of 2016, Arizona is already trying to parley it into two. On the same day he committed to Arizona, Kobi Simmons reached out to uncommitted guard Rawle Alkins to try to sway him to join him in the desert.

    NEW YORK — Having landed one guard in the Class of 2016, Arizona is already trying to parlay it into two.

    On the same day he committed to Arizona, Kobi Simmons reached out to uncommitted guard Rawle Alkins to try to sway him to join him in the desert.

    “They told me they were going to get him, he told me that he was going to go there,” the 6-foot-4 Alkins said of Simmons after earning MVP honors in his return home to the Big Apple Basketball Invitational after a 24-point, 10-rebound performance as Word of God Academy lost to Genesis Academy 86-78 Saturday night at Baruch College.

    “So before he committed, he texted me, he was like, ‘Are you ready?’ So I mean he’s pretty cool. I played a lot with him over the summer, USA Basketball, adidas Nations, all of that stuff.”

    Alkins added: “I won MVP of those tournaments so it’s not like he’s going to steal my shine.”

    Arizona is two under the scholarship limit and will lose Gabe York to graduation and possibly freshman Allonzo Trier to the NBA Draft.

    “I think [Simmons] is going to probably be the primary ball-handler, though, if I end up going there,” Alkins added. “They’re talking about getting Josh Jackson, too, so if they get [Simmons], Josh Jackson, me and imagine if Allonzo Trier stays another year, so who knows?”

    The 6-foot-8 Jackson is considering Arizona, Michigan State and Kansas, among others. He is projected as the No. 3 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and is ranked as the No. 1 player in 2016 by 247Sports.com.

    “Imagine that lineup,” Alkins added of a recruiting class that included himself, Simmons and Jackson.

    Alkins is currently working with a list of nine schools: North Carolina, N.C. State, Arizona, Louisville, Kentucky, Kansas, UNLV, St John’s and Indiana.

    “I got my PSAT score, I will be scheduling my visits soon and from there it’s just picking a school,” he said, adding there are no dates set.

    “Not right now, I’m still scheduling. There are going to have to be some games where I’m going to have to miss.”

    Alkins said he wants to visit “every school on my list.” Recruits can only take five officials, so some would have to be unofficials.

    “There’s no school that stands out to me that I’m definitely going to,” he added.

    Alkins is down on the 247Sports.com Crystal Ball predictions and said they are “sort of messing up my recruitment.” Right now the ‘Crystal Ball’ is 68 percent N.C. State.

    “That’s why I don’t want to say a school,” he said.

    (The ‘Crystal Ball’ also had 36 percent of ‘experts’ predicting Simmons to Kentucky or Ohio State.)

    Alkins has visited N.C. State and North Carolina because they are now his local schools. St. John’s staff and fans probably have to hope that he gets homesick while in North Carolina for a year at Word of God.

    “I know the life that I want to choose, I’m going to be away from home regardless,” he said. “College, I’m going to travel everywhere. I’m not even going to be home if I go to a local school. I’m not even going to be home, so location is not a factor.”

    For this weekend, though, location matters as he gets to spend the night in the house he grew up in, and see his family and friends. He even joked that he missed the New York reporters.

    “I miss you guys,” he said.

    Asked about his old school, he said, “Do I miss Christ the King? Sometimes. I miss the people. Word of God is a small school. They have I wanna say 200 kids at the school so classes are small. It’s good for me. All the focus in the classes is on me, so I needed it.”

    As for the game, his team lost but they get another shot Monday against South Kent (CT), which features players going to Syracuse [Matthew Moyer] and Seton Hall [Myles Powell] plus uncommitted 2017 point guard Tremont Waters.

    “I would’ve liked to have won the game but unfortunately that couldn’t happen,” he said. “South Kent is really good. They got Myles Powell, Matthew Moyer, a couple other guys, so it’s going to be fun.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.