For a variety of reasons New York City is no longer home to the best basketball talent in the country. However, every so often there is a special talent who reminds people that New York is still capable of producing high-level, game-changing phenoms. In the 2016 class, Brooklyn native Rawle Alkins appears to be doing just that.
Standing in at 6'4 and weighing 190 pounds, Rawle Alkins looks like the dictionary definition of what many would call an ideal basketball player. For the past three years, the talented guard's play has proven that he not only looks like the ideal baller, he wins like the ideal baller.
In that span, Alkins has won three CHSAA city championships while starring at Christ the King high school. On the national AAU circuit, Alkins, who plays for the New York Rens, has been just as dominant. This past year, the Canarsie native led the Rens to the Adidas Gauntlet title defeating the Atlanta Celtics and top prospect Kobi Simmons in the process.
On the court, it is hard to pinpoint a weakness in Alkins' game. He is dominant on both sides of the floor and has drawn comparisons to another Brooklyn native, Lance "Born Ready" Stephenson. Although the quality that truly separates this talented guard from his contemporaries is the swagger he possesses both on and off the court.
When asked about following in the footsteps of Lance Stephenson, the neophyte seemed more focused on carving out his own path rather than being another Lance.
"People say he was the best to come out of New York, but I don't want to be the next Lance Stephenson," said Alkins. "I want to be the new Rawle Alkins."
Alkins, who is ranked 22th among ESPN's top prospects for the class of 2016, has been courted by virtually every major program in the nation. Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville. and St. John's have all extended offers to the Brooklynite.
At the moment there does not appear to be a clear favorite, but Alkins has been explicit about what he is looking for in a program.
"I am looking for a school with a great atmosphere," Alkins said. "Basketball isn't year round so it is important to see what you are doing in the off season. Fan support is also really important. They build your brand for you."
It is no secret that Chris Mullin and St. John's would love to have the local product headline their 2016 recruiting class. During his first week as coach, Mullin made it a priority to reach out to Alkins and make his interest known. Coach Mullin's plans to pitch to the Alkins the idea of being the "King of the New York."
However, Alkins believes that he has already achieved this esteemed status.
"I already solidified myself as one of the kings of New York so me going to college in New York is not a factor. It does not really matter on me being a legend in New York because I already solidified myself as that by winning three city titles in New York being the first player in history to do it," said Alkins.
The college decision isn't the only decision on Alkins mind.
Before he chooses a college, he must first decide where he will spend his senior year of high school. In early July, Alkins transferred from Christ the King - because of games played on the varsity level in eighth grade in Florida.
While both of these decisions are important, improving on the court is still the most crucial part of the process for him. Alkins plans to spend the rest of the summer fine-tuning his game.
"You can't be great at everything so I work on every particular part of my game," Alkins said. "I feel like you can never be perfect."