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Catholic league left Alkins no choice

Brooklyn Daily
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The city’s best boys’ basketball player is leaving — and he couldn’t be more right in doing so.

Christ the King star Rawle Alkins announced on social media last week that he will not return to Middle Village next season, and will attend a prep school.

It was a move he had to make, with his eligibility to play a senior season in the Catholic league still up the air. He played in eight varsity games in Florida as an eighth grader, and by-the-rules Catholic league’s Student Eligibility Committee would not meet until September to decide if he could play in Middle Village.

Alkins has said all along he’d rather stay at Christ the King — but that was only going happen if he stuck around for the school year to begin.

That left Alkins with no choice but to leave after helping the Royals to three consecutive Catholic Class AA Intersectional titles and two state Federation crowns during his tenure. The Catholic League is known to be a strict and by-the-rules organization, so his chances of being allowed to play were slim.

Instead of placing his fate in the hands of others, he smartly decided his own future. Why wait and have to answer questions about it from reporters and scouts all summer, risk prep school rosters filling up, and complicate the transition on and off the court.

New York City must watch another of its top talents go elsewhere. It is time for the Catholic High School Athletic Association to change the ruling date so that in the future, a kid can make this decision with the decency of knowing if he’d even be allowed to stay.

If Alkins chose to stick it out and was turned away, he could also hurt his academic future. Starting a new school in October would put a greater strain on the process of ensuring that he completes his course work to be academically qualified to compete in college. Rulings like this should be made in May or June or early August at the latest.

“At least make the ruling so he wouldn’t be messed up academical­ly,” Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello said. “If the kid waits until September, are you really doing the right thing academically for the kid? So they need to get out of the 1950s and realize this is 2015.”

Alkins is one of the top players in the country. He is being recruited by St. John’s and every other major college. It is a shame to see him go, not only because he was a super talent and fun to watch play, but also he’s also a rare and refreshing personality.

Alkins would much rather have played for a fourth-straight city title and another Federation crown. That was never even given a chance to happen thanks to the Catholic league’s rules.

Alkins was right to not wait for the answer. He had to go. The best player in New York City was given no choice but to become the best player somewhere else.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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