Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Kentucky, Kansas Ramping Up Efforts to Land Alkins
By CHRIS BARCA
NEW YORK — Christ the King head coach Joe Arbitello doesn’t just love junior guard Rawle Alkins‘ quickness, ball handling skills or ability to score at will.
One of Arbitello’s favorite aspects of Alkins’ game is his willingness to support his teammates on nights where the elite Queens prospect doesn’t have his smooth shooting touch.
Alkins, battling a bad case of the flu, scored just nine points in Sunday’s 76-64 win at home against PSAL powerhouse Cardozo. Instead, he played the role of a facilitator and cheerleader as guard Jose Alvarado went off for 25 points and Jared Rivers dropped 17 points in the victory at Christ the King.
The junior, who left practice early on Saturday because of his illness, which was still evident in his voice, said there was no excuse for missing his first seven shots and scoring in single digits. However, he said it was like a breath of fresh air to see his teammates pick him up in such a manner.
“I’m sick, but it should be no excuse, Alkins said. “I played bad but my team stepped up in a big way.”
Arbitello, who called Alkins’ performance “terrible,” said his support for his teammates and general unselfish play is what helps set him apart from other elite high school prospects.
“That’s the side you don’t realize about him. He’s happy when we win and he’s happy when his teammates play well,” Arbitello said. “That’s what makes him a great, great basketball player. Not just what he does on the court.”
Alkins’ attitude has impressed scores of top college programs, including Kentucky and Kansas. The junior said both schools have stepped up their efforts to woo him, with coaches from each program, including Wildcats assistant coach Barry Rohrssen, texting him “words of encouragement” on a daily basis.
Kansas has already offered Alkins, and Kentucky could do so if he has a strong showing in the April live period.
Meantime, Villanova, Cincinnati, N.C. State, Indiana and Seton Hall are among the schools working hardest for the explosive scoring guard.
While Alkins said it was “incredible” to have offers from such top flight schools, he said he does not have a list of preferred programs at this point.
“They’re considered the top programs in college basketball,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean I have to go there.”
The latest school to offer Alkins was East Carolina four days ago.
When asked whether he would prefer to remain local or go elsewhere to play, he said location was irrelevant in his mind.
“Location is not a factor,” he said. “It can be in Denver. It can be in Hawaii. It doesn’t matter to me.”
In terms of his teammates’ college prospects, Arbitello said Alvarado has an offer in hand from Iona with Manhattan showing interest in the guard. But his list should grow in the coming days.
“Coaches are probably calling my phone already,” he said. “He’ll probably get a few more offers after today.”
Cardozo guard Ray Salnave, an intriguing prospect himself, scored 14 points in the loss while Tareq Coburn and Aaron Walker netted 21 and 18 points respectively.
Cardozo plays in the SNY Invitational Jan. 23-24 at City College.
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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.