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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Youngster Rawle Alkins, provides power and balance for Wildcats

Rebecca Noble
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Johnathan Williams (3) and Arizona Wildcats guard Rawle Alkins (1) attempt to snag the ball before it goes out of bounds during Arizona’s 69-62 loss to Gonzaga at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016.

You could see it coming, but it wasn’t until last week’s loss to Gonzaga that you could see the impact Wildcats guard Rawle Alkins really brings to the lineup.

In a game that was ugly for the Wildcats, Alkins showed his toughness and resiliency despite Arizona falling short against the Bulldogs. Saturday, however, Alkins proved to be as big a difference maker, if not bigger, than fellow teammate Lauri Markkanen.

Alkins finished with a career-high 19 points which included hitting four of seven from 3-point range while adding nine rebounds.

“My coaches and my teammates give me confidence to be aggressive,” Alkins said. “I was just talking to coach [Sean Miller] the other day and he was just telling me to play basketball, play my game.”

Alkins struggled early on in the season to find his groove and adjust to college basketball but has arguably been the most important Wildcat in the lineup for Arizona the past four games, scoring in double figures each time and twice leading the team in scoring. His presence has also been felt on the boards and on the defensive end contributing 25 rebounds and seven steals during that time period.

“He [Miller] thought the first few games I was being timid and unsure of myself,” said Alkins. “I just got back to playing my basketball, playing how i know it and being aggressive and playing hard on both ends of the floor.”

The freshman from Brooklyn will need to continue his improving play if Arizona wants to wade the waters in hopes of a Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Allonzo Trier return to the lineup. His aggressive play will be key the next few weeks with games at home against Grand Canyon and New Mexico as well as a key test on the road next week in Houston against Texas A&M.

“I never give up, I just play as hard as I can on the floor,” Alkins said.

Follow Saul Bookman on Twitter.

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