Another day, another award for Lauri Markkanen.
A day after being named the Pac-12 Player of the Week, the Arizona Wildcats forward was named as the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association announced Tuesday.
Here is the USBWA’s press release:
ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected the Arizona's Lauri Markkanen as its Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for games ending the week of Sunday, Jan. 22. The USBWA's weekly honor is presented by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook.
As the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week, Markkanen was nominated for the weekly award, which was chosen by a representative of the USBWA board of directors from a list of Division I conference players of the week. This is the eighth season that the USBWA has selected a national player of the week.
Markkanen, 7-0 forward from Jyväskylä, Finland, averaged 20.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in a road sweep of USC and UCLA, shooting 14-of-22 from the field (.636) and 8-of-10 (.800) behind the arc. His game-high 23 points (8-12 FG, 5-6 3FG) at USC marked the 11th game this season he has led the Wildcats in scoring. He followed up with 18 points (6-10 FG, 3-4 3FG) to help Arizona win at No. 3 UCLA for its best true road win over a ranked opponent since downing No. 1 Stanford in March 2001.
Markkanen's performance helped the Wildcats extend their winning streak to 12 games and to remain unbeaten in conference play (7-0). Monday, Markkanen was included in the USBWA's Oscar Robertson Trophy (National Player of the Year) and Wayman Tisdale Award (National Freshman Player of the Year) midseason watch lists.
Since the 1958-59 season, the USBWA has named a National Player of the Year. In 1998, the award was named in honor of the University of Cincinnati Hall of Famer and two-time USBWA Player of the Year Oscar Robertson. It is the nation's oldest award and the only one named after a former player.
As it says in the release, Markkanen averaged 20.5 points and 7.5 rebounds this past week in Arizona’s road wins over the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins. He shot 64 percent from the field and 8-of-10 from 3-point land.
The freshman is averaging 17.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this season, while shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3.
“Lauri’s had an outstanding season to this point, and if you look at his statistics in conference play, it’s even better,” head coach Sean Miller said Monday at his weekly press conference. “The things that don’t show up on the stat sheet, he’s even better. That means defensively, playing without fouling. A lot of those other areas he’s quietly improved every single day and it’s a big reason for our success.”
Markkanen’s play has helped lead the Wildcats to an 18-2 overall record and a 7-0 Pac-12 record, tied with the Oregon Ducks atop the conference standings.
Arizona has won 12 straight games and will go for its 13th win in a row Thursday when it hosts the Washington State Cougars.
Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. MST and the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
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