Lauri
Markkanen
Position: PF
Height/Weight: 7'0" / 230 lbs
School/Club: Arizona
Status: Freshman
Birthday: May 22, 1997

DRAFT TRADE: Traded to Chicago Bulls

About Lauri Markkanen

Markkanen was one of the best shooting big men in college basketball—maybe the best—and that didn’t happen by accident. He became hooked on the game at a young age, so much so that his parents had to limit the amount of practice time he put in on a daily basis. Still, from the time he was 10 or 11, Markkanen spent four and a half hours a day—minimum—on his shooting. He remained dedicated to the game after he got to Arizona, focusing on improving against top competition and helping his team win. The Wildcats were considered by many to be a favorite to advance to the NCAA tournament’s Final Four, and though their journey ended with an upset loss to Xavier in the Sweet 16, Markkanen did all he could, averaging 15 points and 8.3 rebounds in three tournament games.

Strengths

  • Versatility -- can play the four or five spots
  • Mobility
  • Great face-up shooter with deep range
  • Can score in the post
  • Can score off the bounce
  • Good defensive instincts
  • Good free-throw shooter

Weaknesses

  • Still has improvements to make defensively
  • Not a great shot blocker
  • Can become more effective scoring in the low post
  • Could improve as a passer

NBA projection: Markkanen will be a lottery pick.

2016-17 Season
Markkanen made a big impact in his only season of college basketball, earning consensus third-team All-America honors and being chosen first-team All-Pac-12 and to the league’s all freshman team. He was second on his team in scoring and tops in rebounding and free throw percentage. He also led the Pac-12 in that latter category. Markkanen was just the sixth freshman in NCAA Division I since 1992 to rack up at least 500 points, 250 boards and 50 3-pointers in a season.

Key statistics: 15.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 30.8 mpg, .492 FG, .423 3PT, .835 FT

Career Highlights: This past season, became the sixth Division I freshman since 1992 to finish a season with at least 500 points, 250 rebounds and 50 made three-pointers. Selected Third-Team All-American and Pac-12 All-Conference First Team. Finished in the top five in school freshmen history in each of the following categories: scoring; rebounding; three-point field goals made; free throws made; and free throw percentage.

Cool statistic: Markkanen was the only player in the Pac-12 to rank in the league’s top 12 in scoring, rebounding, free-throw percentage and 3-point field goal percentage.

Reminds me of: Ryan Anderson

What Insiders Say
Arizona coach Sean Miller

“I don't know if there's a freshman that's playing in the NCAA tournament that's had a bigger impact on his team than Lauri has had on our team. He's been consistent from the first game against Michigan State in Hawaii, all the way through last night against North Dakota [in the NCAA tournament first round]. He's had a great freshman year, and as good of a basketball player he is, he's an even better kid. Hard worker, great teammate. He's done nothing but help our program in addition to our team because of all of those qualities.”

What Outsiders Say
Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett

“He's a really talented offensive player. He's a good player, not to say he's not a good defender, but for a freshman he's a really good offensive player. He can really shoot the ball. He can put it on the floor. He can score in the post. Doesn't take bad shots. He's a fun player to watch.”

 

Chris Dortch is the editor of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. You can email him here, follow him on Twitter and listen to the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Hour.

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