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5-star recruit Rawle Alkins is the guard New York has been waiting for

The power guard has done more to improve his stock in the last year than almost any player in the country.

Kelly Kline // adidas

The mental and physical stress that comes with college recruiting is daunting for even the most coveted high school players. There's so much to consider: playing time, coaching style, where you want to live, how you connect with a coaching staff, the amount of national exposure you can receive, what you want to study. And that might only be half of it.

Now imagine going through that for two different levels of competition simultaneously. That's what five-star guard Rawle Alkins is dealing with right now, and he's still found a way to become one of the most dominant physical forces and fastest rising recruits on the grassroots circuit this summer.

Alkins won three New York state championships at Christ the King High School, but is being forced to transfer to a prep school for his senior year. He got minutes for a high school varsity team as an eighth grader in Florida, which put his high school eligibility in jeopardy for this season.

That means Alkins isn't just trying to decide which college he'll attend a year from now, he's also trying to find a place to play when school resumes in a month. That type of burden would weigh heavily on any 17-year-old, but it doesn't seem to be affecting Alkins much on the court. There aren't many players in the country who have done more to boost their stock since grassroots season began in the spring.

Alkins capped an incredible summer run at Adidas Nations this past weekend in Los Angeles. He led his led team to the championship on Monday night by finishing with 26 points on 6-of-8 shooting from three-point range in the title game on his way to being named the camp's MVP. In five games at Nations, Alkins averaged 21.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.

There are a ton of great guards in the class of 2016, but Alkins' name deserves to be in the discussion as the group's best prospect. As a strong and powerful 6'5 guard, he has experience playing both on and off the ball and the size to handle either backcourt spot. He's a force getting to the rim, has improved his jump shot significantly in the past year and has impressed as a defender with his lateral quickness.

Alkins is at his best driving to the hoop, where his combination of strength and explosion is simply too much for high school guards to handle. This is usually what happens:

Those last two plays are from Adidas Eurocamp, where Alkins might have been the best American player. He kept that going through grassroots season playing for the New York Rens on the Adidas circuit, where he averaged 23.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. That included a 34-point effort against fellow five-star guard Kobi Simmons in the Adidas Gauntlet title game, where Alkins canned 5 of 11 threes and held Simmons to just 2-of-13 shooting. He was also co-MVP of the Pangos All-American camp at the end of May.

Alkins' great grassroots play has vaulted him up the rankings in a loaded class of 2016. Last July, he was ranked No. 27 by Rivals. Now he's up to No. 15. After his performance at Adidas Nations, recruiting analysts are conceding it will be hard to keep him out of the top 10. His high motor 'power guard' game is a perfect fit for the way the NBA is moving, making him arguably one of the best long-term prospects in the country.

Before heading out West for Adidas Nations, Alkins trimmed his list of college choices to 10. He basically has an offer from everyone but Duke. There's the local school (St. John's), the adidas schools (Kansas, Louisville, NC State), a few up-and-comers (Texas, Maryland) and, of course, Kentucky and North Carolina. Right now, 247 Sports' Crystal Ball has him favoring Kentucky at 67 percent.

Alkins is in no rush to make a commitment, already stating he plans to wait until the spring to pick a college. For a kid that still has to pick out a prep school, it makes sense. Waiting until the spring allows Alkins to see who turns pro, who transfers and how the coaching carrousel sorts itself out. For example: if two of the Tyler Ulis-Isaiah Briscoe-Jamal Murray trio return to Kentucky, will he want to play on the wing and share the ball in a crowded perimeter attack for the Wildcats?

Alkins' college and prep school choices will play themselves out eventually. For now, the important thing is that over the last few months he's catapulted himself into truly elite status. That means being able to pick where he wants to play, how he wants to play and when to make the decision. Waiting until the spring to announce is a luxury the best of the best recruits earn, and Alkins is in that category now.

New York basketball always seems to be looking for a savior, and Alkins might be the city's best product since Lance Stephenson. Getting away from the city for his final year of high school might be a blessing, as he's accomplished everything in New York a player possibly can. Now the competition will get better, the focus on improving his skill set will become sharper and he can start to decide what he wants out of a potential college.

It's going to be a whirlwind couple of years for Alkins, but he keeps acing every test he faces. At this point, there's no reason to bet against him.