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.
Rawle Alkins Shines at The Adidas Uprising Showcase at Rucker Park
By CHRIS RUSSELLNEW YORK –Under the bright lights of New York’s famous Rucker Park, hometown product Rawle Alkins put on a display for team Black despite finishing on the losing end in a 103-97 loss to team Grey at the adidas Uprising Showcase on Thursday night.
“It was great playing in New York and in front of my fans,” Alkins told SNY after the game. “It was just a great accomplishment by the adidas group and a tremendous event.”
Many of the nation’s top coaches were on hand such as Tom Crean (Indiana), Shaka Smart (Texas), Bobby Hurley (Arizona St.), Johnny Dawkins (Stanford), Dana Altman (Oregon), Mark Fox (Georgia), Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt), as well as St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin and his two assistants Barry “Slice Rohrssen and Matt Abdelmassih to watch the first ever live period game in Rucker Park.
There has been no denying that Alkins, who finished with 24 points and eight assists, and point guard Mustapha Heron have been a top priority this summer for the Johnnies, often going three deep for their services.
“It feels great to have the coaches (St. John’s) here to support me and that is a major factor,” said Heron after his 20-point, 11-rebound performance Thursday night. “ Just to have the level of comfort with the coaches is very important to me.”
Both Alkins and Heron were accompanied by Edrice “Bam” Adebayo on team Black. Adebayo electrified the crowd throughout the night with his vicious put-back dunks. He finished with a team best 27 points and 11 rebounds.
Despite the defeat, Alkins and Heron displayed great chemistry on the court as both guards were often alternating on running the point position. The chemistry can be accredited to their time playing together on the NY Rens AAU club. As for St. John’s, Mullin and his staff hope to keep this tandem together in the Johnnies backcourt for the near future.
Make no mistake about it, Alkins would like to play alongside Heron.
“Mustapha is a beast, you know he’s a young James Harden,” said Alkins.
St. John’s has put themselves in a great situation, as they are the only common denominator to land both prospects.
Heron stated on Wednesday at the adidas Uprising All-American Camp that it is “very realistic” that he and Alkins will end up on the same campus.
The 6-foot-4 point guard Heron, who has said that he will likely commit in the fall (November) currently has seven schools in the running for his services —St. John’s, SMU, Miss. St., Alabama, Auburn, Maryland and Marquette
With a recent North Carolina and Kentucky offer in hand, the 6-foot-4 Alkins is in no hurry to announce his college choice though he has set an unofficial visit with John Calipari and University of Kentucky for its Big Blue Madness on Oct. 16.
Alkins said that Kentucky calls him ‘almost every day’ and that St. John’s and Indiana are “slightly” more involved.
Kentucky head man Calipari and his assistant Tony Barbee visited Alkins early Thursday but were not present at Rucker Park on Thursday night.
As for the winning team, team Grey was led by local product Shamorie Ponds who scored 22 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
Silky smooth floor general Kobi Simmons, who is considered one of the best point guards in the class of 2016, scored 20 points and distributed five assists in the victory. Much like Alkins, Simmons has been a top priority for Kentucky as they expect Jamal Murray (DraftExpress No, 17) and Isaiah Briscoe (No. 19) to enter next year’s 2016 NBA draft.
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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.