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Arizona Freshman Lauri Markkanen to enter the 2017 NBA Draft

LAURI MARKKANEN

Lauri Markkanen, the highly touted freshman forward out of Arizona, will declare for the 2017 NBA Draft, per multiple outlets.

“I want to thank my coaches, teammates and fans for an amazing year at #APlayersProgram,” Markkanen said via his Twitter account. “I also want to thank everyone who helped me along the way in my journey from Finland. With that being said, I have decided to take the next step and declare for the NBA Draft.”

Markkanen was a key component in the success of the Wildcats this season, averaging 15.6 points, 7.2 rebounds in 30.8 minutes of play while shooting .492 from the field and .423 from three-point range.

For his efforts, Markkanen was named an AP Third Team All-American, joining the likes of Kansas freshman Josh Jackson and Washington freshman Markelle Fultz, who many believe will be the overall top pick in this Summers draft.

Sean Miller had nothing but high praise for the outgoing freshman.

“I don’t know if I ever coached a player that has given more of himself and has cared more about the University of Arizona, his teammates, our team, our program, than this guy right here,” Miller said in his introductory comments.

“He gave us his heart and his soul,” Miller continued. “He also gave us his talent.”

Markkanen expressed his appreciation in a press conference.

“I want to thank everyone back home in Finland who has helped me reach this point,” Markkanen said. “My coaches, family and friends. I want to thank everyone here, the coaching staff, my current teammates. It’s been an unbeliveable year, I’ve had so much fun. Of course, the fans. Hearing U of A chants everywhere we go. That’s been incredible. But playing in the NBA has been a dream of mine so I’m happy to announce I am declaring for the NBA Draft.”

Markkanen is projected as the eighth overall pick in the DraftExpress 2017 NBA Mock Draft.

 

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