Arizona power forward Lauri Markkanen will announce today that he has decided to leave school after his freshman year and enter the 2017 NBA draft, tweets Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. Evan Daniels of Scout.com confirms that Markkanen intends to stay in the draft pool and will hire an agent.
Markkanen, a native of Finland, is viewed as a probable lottery pick. The seven-footer comes in at No. 8 overall on the big boards at both DraftExpress and ESPN.com, and could be the first power forward to be selected in June. According to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, a late-season shooting slump negatively impacted Markkanen’s draft stock, but only slightly — he’s still a “near-lock” to be a top-10 pick.
In his first and only season as a Wildcat, Markkanen averaged 15.6 PPG and 7.2 RPG in 30.8 minutes per contest. He was also very efficient from the field, finishing the season with a .492/.423/.835 shooting line.