The long recruiting tale that has been St. John's pursuit of New York native Rawle Alkins is coming to an end - tonight! After more drama than The Bachelor, we will finally know who gets the signature on the LOI.
According to Paul Biancardi, Rawle Alkins is ending his recruitment after only three official visits - to St. John's first, then to UNLV and Arizona, and announcing his decision tonight.
Breaking News:— Paul Biancardi (@PaulBiancardi) March 7, 2016
Rawle Alkins will make his college decision tonight on CBB live at 9pm et on @ESPNU. Final 3 Arizona, Saint John's & UNLV.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing for St. John's, whose regular season ended on Saturday?
Head coach Chris Mullin would love the highly talented wing to help round out his recruiting class, the first that he has been able to work on for a full cycle. And on the court, Alkins' athleticism would add a lacking dimension to the Red Storm.
But after a weekend with St. John's - including a meeting with the Golden State Warriors, who were visiting New York to play the Knicks - Alkins headed out west to the desert to see UNLV and Arizona. Soon afterwards, in-the-know pundits started predicting that Alkins would commit to the Arizona Wildcats.
And he hasn't gone on an official visit to North Carolina State, the school in close proximity to his current high school, Word of God Academy, where he is finishing his senior year because of New York City's Catholic School transfer rules (he was playing at famed Christ the King). But he has visited unofficially a number of times.
It's hard to know where St. John's stands with Alkins. The 6'5" wing has said that he doesn't feel the need to stay at home, though teenagers can change their minds.
St. John's offers the best chance of playing time, since he will be unquestionably one of the team's top-three players.
At Arizona, the Wildcats have a number of returning guards (depending on NBA prospects) - Allonzo Trier, Justin Simon, Kadeem Allen and Kobi Jordan-Simmons.
UNLV will be looking for a new head coach in the coming weeks; current coach Todd Simon is an interim coach after the firing of Dave Rice.
North Carolina State is a young squad with Cat Barber at point guard and a slew of scoring wings; five-star point guard Dennis smith is coming, and Maverick Rowan and twins Caleb and Cody Martin should also return.
On the other hand, despite the logjam at guard for Arizona, Alkins will join a team that's designed to play high-level games - the kind of games that are great for exposure if he can get on the court. St. John's, meanwhile, is in the midst of a rebuilding phase that might give him a chance to show his full range of skills, but may require him to carry the scoring, showing off more weaknesses. (Though NBA scouts are very good at picking up on those even in limited time).
Either way, St. John's still has a strong recruiting class coming, with guard Shamorie Ponds, forward Richard Freudenberg and JUCO wing Bashir Ahmed all committed to next season's effort. And sitting out this year are point guard Marcus Lovett and athletic center Tariq Owens.
Will Alkins come home? Will he go to the desert? Or will he sidle down the road to North Carolina State and play in the ACC, despite having a different top-3 listed?
And on that "top three" information - it's incorrect.
Rawle Alkins tells me his top 5 headed into tonight's decision are NC State, UNC, Arizona, St John's & UNLV.— Jason Jordan (@JayJayUSATODAY) March 7, 2016