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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen declares for the NBA Draft (w/ video)

Simon Asher

Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen looks to pass during the PAC12 quarterfinals against Colorado in Las Vegas, on Thursday, March 9. Arizona beat Colorado 92-78. 

Arizona freshman forward Lauri Markkanen declared for the NBA Draft per NBA Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony Thursday and will forego his sophomore season.

Markkanen played in every game for Arizona this season and averaged 30.8 minutes, 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

Originally on a two-year plan at Arizona according to his father, former Kansas Jayhawk and Finnish national basketball player Pekka, Lauri emerged as a lottery pick with his 7-foot frame as well as his ability to shoot from 3-point range.

This season, Markkanen shot 42.3 percent from the 3-point line and tied for second place all-time in points scored, including sixth in three-point field goals made amongst Arizona freshmen. He became an AP Third-team All-American, First-team All-Pac-12 player and was also named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team.

Markkanen is projected to land in the top 10 picks of the draft, most likely between No. 6 and No. 10 depending on how the lottery is played out.

According to, the Dallas Mavericks will select Markkanen at No. 10 overall, which could be the ideal fit for him, because veteran power forward Dirk Nowitzki has one year left on his contract and could retire after the 2017 season.

Markkanen is also projected to go No. 8 overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves per Draft Express where he would be teamed up in a front court with promising star in Karl-Anthony Towns.

At the end of the day, Markkanen will go down as arguably the best front court player in Arizona history and in a time where stretch fours are the flavor of the new era in basketball, the Finnish forward has the potential to thrive at the next level. 

Follow Justin Spears on Twitter. 

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