Arizona Basketball

Alkins: ‘a great feeling’ to be back, although rusty

“There might be a little dust on the bottle
But don’t let it fool ya about what’s inside
There might be a little dust on the bottle
It’s one of those things that gets sweeter with time”
– David Lee Murphy

Welcome to the world and possibilities of Rawle Alkins, who returned to the Arizona lineup on Saturday in an 88-82 win over Alabama after being away 11 weeks because of a foot injury.

Saturday’s return proved he’s still a long way away from being the Rawle Alkins everyone grew to love.

He’s the Jeep to me – an all-purpose, do-everything type player who looks good in rugged games and sleek in others.

Rawle Alkins enters a game for the first time this season in Arizona’s win over Alabama (Arizona Athletics photo)

“It was great having him back,” said teammate Allonzo Trier. “He’s worked really hard and practiced really hard. We’re excited to have him back and he’ll continue to get better in every game. He’s another guy with experience and he knows what Sean Miller wants from us.”

Alkins called his official return “a great feeling” playing in front of his home crowd after missing nearly the first third of the season.

“I just tried to play my best,” he told IMG’s Ryan Hansen after the game.

He said he wasn’t trying to do too much, “but I’m still a little rusty as you can see. My shot wasn’t falling. But over time it’s going to get better.”

He said he can bring leadership to the mix of the new team and defense.

“When you look at me I don’t want you to look at stats, but effort, heart and determination to win,” he said.

His stats were un-Alkins like. He had seven points and two rebounds, but his energy was needed. He was in foul trouble all night in playing just 22 minutes. He entered about three minutes into the game.

“As predicted there were times when he was going (up) and then times when he was going down,” Miller said. “That’s why it was so important to get him out there. The first game is the hardest to get him settled in.”

Miller said Alkins played well in stretches, getting people the ball.

“(He) has the ability to make others better,” Miller said.

In short, he’s exactly what Arizona needs right now as the Pac-12 season looms in three weeks.

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