Rawle Alkins carries the torch as one of New York’s next great guards

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CHICAGO — Among the best players at the adidas Unrivaled Camp during the first week of the July live evaluation period was New York native Rawle Alkins. The 6-foot-4 Alkins is beginning to gain a reputation as one of New York City’s great, young guards and the Class of 2016 guard has a certain toughness about him that carries over well onto the court.

Already regarded as Rivals’ No. 27 overall prospect in the 2016 national class, Alkins can get to the rim in a number of different ways and has a unique scoring package within 15 feet of the basket. His jump shot still needs work to be consistent, but Alkins can bull his way to the rim against smaller guards or use his athleticism to explode past slower players. And at the rim, Alkins does a nice job finishing through contact.

“That’s New York City toughness,” Alkins said of his game to “I just want to prove that New York still has talent, is still good and still can compete.”

Inevitably, any highly-touted guard that comes out of New York will get compared to a past great from the city. As a native of Brooklyn, Alkins said that he already hears one name in particular — although Alkins skips the ridiculous antics often associated with this player.

“Everybody says I resemble Lance Stephenson,” Alkins said. “They all say I look like him, they all say I play like him because I’m tough and I’m a big guard. I don’t really look up to him because I don’t know him or anything, but he’s a great player.”

MOREQuotables Part I | Part II | Part III | All content from the 2014 July Live Period

Coming from a city as big as New York also means a lot of attention going Alkins’ way. Alkins attributed part of the toughness of his game, and his confidence, from coming from such a busy city that always has a lot going on.

“In my mind, I can compete with anyone,” Alkins said. “I guess you could say being in a tough area, you have to be tough all the time to get by. Guys that are from out of town aren’t used to that. Guys from Florida aren’t used to the drama and stuff like that. I’m not saying that New York is bad or anything, but it’s a city that never sleeps.”

Talking to Alkins about his game is also rather enlightening. Rather than gloat about something he did well, Alkins is the type of player that is fueled by improving his weaknesses. Although he had a big dunk and some big plays in the Unrivaled underclass All-Star game, he said afterwards, “I guess everybody remembered the dunk and didn’t see all of the things I could have done better.”

“I tell everyone when they ask for my strengths and weaknesses that everything is my weakness. I have nothing that’s really perfect in my game, I have nothing that’s really bad in my game. But I want to continue to improve until I’m 100 percent at everything,” Alkins said.

As far as the recruiting process goes, Alkins is still very much in the preliminary stages. A couple of college basketball’s blueblood programs have recently been involved, but Alkins has yet to take a college visit and is just sifting through interest and scholarship offers.

“Kentucky and Louisville are recruiting me now. Indiana, Miami, N.C. State, all have offered since the live period,” Alkins said. “I have a total of 15 offers now.”

Colleges will definitely keep track of New York City’s latest young guard and it will be interesting to see if Alkins stays in the area or elects to go to a national program in the next few years.

Tennessee G Hubbs undergoes arthroscopic knee surgery

Robert Hubbs III, Anton Beard
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee guard Robert Hubbs won’t practice this week after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday.

The school said in a news release that Hubbs had it done “to address chronic swelling issues that have been present since the preseason.”

No timetable has been set for when Hubbs could return to action, but he is considered doubtful for Tennessee’s next game on Dec. 12 at Butler. Tennessee (4-3) is in the midst of a 13-day break from games, which marks the program’s longest layoff during a season since December 1967.

Hubbs is averaging 15.3 points per game to rank third on the team. The 6-foot-4 junior has scored at least 13 points in each of Tennessee’s seven games.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.