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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Versus: Who will be Arizona’s best recruit?

Kobe Simmons
Kobe Simmons

Rawle Alkins

By Ivan Leonard

During the past three seasons, Arizona head coach Sean Miller relied heavily on freshmen to add a scoring punch to the team and next year will be no different.

With Brooklyn guard Rawle Alkins’ commitment to the Wildcats in March, Arizona has its next physical specimen freshman ready to take on the Pac-12 Conference.

Just like Aaron Gordon and Stanley Johnson, Alkins already possesses an NBA-ready body at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and can overpower defenders en route to the basket. Alkins is ESPN’s No. 17-rated prospect.

Next season’s team will be without its top two scorers in Gabe York and Ryan Anderson, but Alkins could form a dynamic duo on the wings with Allonzo Trier. If Trier stays, Alkins could work as a Swiss army knife and secondary scorer. He could also play the go-to scorer if Trier goes pro.

Add that to his strength and defensive potential and he very well could be the best incoming freshmen.

Just like Lance Stephenson, Alkins is a tough, New York City guard with the ability to not only just score but contribute in so many different facets of the game.

He attended Arizona’s lone home loss to Oregon and was impressed by the passion the fans had for the Wildcats. With the way this recruiting class is shaping out, that might be the only loss Alkins witnesses in McKale Center.


Lauri Markkanen

 By Kyle Hansen

Five-star Finnish big-man Lauri Markkanen committed to Arizona back in October on the day of the Red-Blue game. He attended the exhibition match-up and has since signed his letter of intent to join the Wildcats next season.

Markkanen has fallen under the radar since his commitment to Arizona. Kobi Simmons and Alkins have drawn most of the attention for this class, but Markkanen offers a unique situation for Miller.

He’s a 6-foot-11 power forward who can shoot the 3s and drive off the dribble. He’s a good athlete who can run the floor but, according to Scout.com, needs improvement in his low block scoring and rebounding.

With the athletes Arizona will have next year, Markkanen would thrive in a fast-paced system. His range and athleticism allow him to be a nightmare for defenders.

Because of his strong ability to score and run the floor, Markkanen could impact Arizona right away. His unique skill set gives Miller plenty of options to run through him. Markkanen has already seen success in the international game. According to Scout, he averaged 18.2 points a game while playing for Finland’s U18 team in the European Championships over the summer.

The experience and style of Markkanen’s game will be an interesting but strong transition for the Wildcats. Arizona needs a solid big man to replace Kaleb Tarczewski.

Keep an eye out on Markkanen. He hasn’t made much noise since he committed early, but expect the big man to make a huge splash once he arrives in Tucson.


Kobi Simmons

By Justin Spears

Arizona has the potential to sign the best recruiting class in program history, which actually gives the Wildcats something to look forward to after being bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

With already one five-star forward, Markkanen, inked and Alkins committed, the most essential piece moving forward is point guard Kobi Simmons.

Simmons is ranked as the No. 3 point guard, according to ESPN, and will look to play heavy minutes in a position that is desperate for a floor general.

Kadeem Allen started for the majority of the season when he wasn’t battling with a stomach illness. Allen is a natural scorer and was not the prototypical point guard that Miller was looking for.

In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Allen committed seven turnovers with two assists.

Miller can roll the dice with Parker Jackson-Cartwright, but that would cause matchup problems against teams with larger guards as he only stands at 5-foot-10.

Simmons is a 6-foot-6-point guard and can run the floor like a gazelle while taking command of games.

Arizona loves to score in transition and for how crafty and athletic Simmons is, he might be the biggest answer to all of Arizona’s problems from this season.

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