Winners of four straight, Arizona is being careful with Rawle Alkins

Jan 24, 2018, 4:37 PM
Arizona guard Rawle Alkins reacts after getting called for his fourth personal foul while facing Co...

Arizona guard Rawle Alkins reacts after getting called for his fourth personal foul while facing Colorado in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Sean Miller created a whole lot of headlines when he made comments regarding his inability to reach his team after Arizona’s loss to Colorado on Jan. 6 and stood by them the following week.

Since then, the Wildcats are 4-0 and have a good chance of making it 6-0 and moving back into the top-10 when they take on Colorado and Utah this week.

The main aspect pointing toward a recovery for Miller’s team after dropping three straight in the Bahamas from Nov. 22-24 was the return of sophomore guard Rawle Alkins from a broken right foot.

Getting Alkins back, though, has been difficult to maneuver for the Wildcats.

Alkins has played in 10 of the team’s last 11 games. The one game he missed was on Jan. 17 against Cal, for what was called a precaution for mild right foot soreness.

His play, at least, has been solid. He’s averaging 14.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals a game, shooting an efficient 48 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range.

On Monday, Miller said it’s a complicated process with his surgery because of how the team can only evaluate so much themselves.

“It’s tricky when somebody goes through the surgery he had because you really rely more on him than anything else,” he said.

“We are going to be incredibly smart with him in terms of an extra day here or there — the totality of practice.”

Alkins is still finding the right spots to contribute as a scorer.

He’s taken double-digit shots in only five of those games and has been helping his team more where he did last year, with defense, rebounding, smart passes and energy plays across the court. To be fair, it’s not the worst thing he can do while All-American candidates Deandre Ayton and Allonzo Trier take the scoring load.

The battle is finding a balance for Alkins to get back in rhythm and get used to a bigger role, but also being careful with his foot, something it sounds like Miller has to continue to keep in mind all season.

“The things that we can control we want to do the right way and that’s why we shut him down for the Cal game,” he said. “It had nothing to do with who we were playing or anything else — it was the right thing for him.

“If we have to do that again every once and a while, we’ll do that.”

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Winners of four straight, Arizona is being careful with Rawle Alkins