SUWANEE, Ga. – NY RENS wing Rawle Alkins limped out of North Gwinnett High in his street clothes with his ankle wrapped in ice Thursday night after his big win over Indiana Elite in the adidas Finals semis, plopped down on the brick sidewalk and smiled.
“Make sure you come to the championship tomorrow now,” he said. “We’re gonna win and, I promise, we’re gonna put on a show.”
Alkins made good on his word Friday night, scoring 34 points in the RENS, 80-66, win over the Atlanta Celtics.
Mustapha Heron chipped in with 19 points and 12 rebounds in the win; Kobi Jordan-Simmons led the Celtics with 15 points, but shot just 2 of 19 from the field.
The RENS, who led by 18 for most of the second half, held the Celtics to 19.2 percent from the three-point line and swiped nine steals.
“In this game if you don’t have confidence you don’t have anything,” Alkins said. “I don’t get up to play against teams or players in particular; I knew we’d win because I get up to play, period. When I hit that first three I knew the game was over.”
This marks only the fourth year for the RENS’ program; it was Andy Borman’s first year as head coach.
“It’s a great feeling to come out and have this level of success so early for the program,” Borman said. “The guys were really up for this tournament because we hadn’t played since April. They were really focused, but, hey, it’s July; this is a big time for all of these kids for a lot of different reasons. Rawle was just himself. He’s done that all year; definitely one of the best in the country.”
Alkins’ trajectory is eerily similar to one of the best in the country from last year’s class, his good friend Isaiah Briscoe, the top point guard in the 2015 class who is now a freshman at Kentucky.
“I just pulled the ‘Isaiah Briscoe’ of this summer,” Alkins said. “I thought about this the other day, but last summer he won MVP of the Pangos All-American Camp and I did that this year. Then he won Peach Jam and now I won adidas. He blew up in every tournament all summer and that’s what I’m doing; I’m not saying I want to follow in his footsteps exactly, but, certainly, my goal is to do way more. It’s not over yet; I want to be top five and maybe even No. 1. I definitely already feel like we’ve proved that we’re the No. 1 team in the country… On any circuit.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY