It’s time to turn up the anxiety level on Arizona basketball’s offseason.
Freshman Lauri Markkanen is gone (near-certain lottery pick; no brainer); freshman Kobi Simmons is gone (expected, but still curious given his iffy draft status); sophomore Chance Comanche declared for the NBA Draft (could return, because he hasn’t signed with an agent …
And now this:
Rawle Alkins could make it a clean sweep of one-and-done freshmen at Arizona as he announced on social media Wednesday morning that he, like Comanche, will test the waters and declare for the NBA Draft without signing with an agent.
Oh, and coach Sean Miller is still waiting to see what sophomore guard Allonzo Trier will do.
Per NBA Draft rules, players can enter the draft multiple times and participate in the combine (if invited, of course) and one NBA team tryout per year. They can return to school, as long as they don’t sign with an agent. This year’s deadline to withdraw is 11:59 p.m. on May 24.
Alkins,a strong 6-foot-5 wing, started all but one game last season, averaging 10.9 points and 4.9 rebounds. He shot 37.0 percent from 3-point range (44 of 119). More than that, he led Arizona’s #SavageLife movement.
He has been expected to return to school, which is why he shows up on some 2018 mock drafts; draftexpress.com has him 47th overall in 2018.
Is Alkins simply using the draft rules to get more experience/feedback on his game? Or is he truly ready to jump right now if he hears some magic words from NBA scouts?
Arizona is not alone in a stressful offseason of wait-and-see.
The league’s other two heavyweights from last season — Oregon and UCLA — are also dealing with significant losses and more potential departures.
The Final Four Ducks lose seniors Dylan Ennis and Chris Boucher, while underclassmen Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks are entering the draft and signing with agents. It is not yet known what center Jordan Bell will do.
UCLA has lost four starters — freshmen Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf are off the NBA, while Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton completed their eligibilities. The fifth starter — center Thomas Welsh — has declared for the draft with no agent. The same goes for top backups, Aaron Holiday and Ike Anigbogu.
All three teams have great recruiting classes lined up — with more to add — but it’s still anybody’s guess as to what it will all look like next season.