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Arizona basketball: Lauri Markkanen named Naismith Trophy finalist

The Finnish freshman is one of 30 finalists for the top award in the sport

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a recent downturn in production, which led to him possibly losing his confidence against Stanford on Wednesday, Arizona Wildcats freshman forward Lauri Markkanen was named a finalist for the 2017 Naismith Trophy.

The Naismith is awarded to the top player in college basketball each season.

He is one of 30 finalists. Here is the complete list of names that were released:

Naismith Finalists

Dwayne Bacon Sophomore G Florida State ACC
Lonzo Ball Freshman G UCLA Pac 12
Joel Berry II Junior G North Carolina ACC
Dillon Brooks Junior F Oregon Pac 12
Jalen Brunson Sophomore G Villanova Big East
Bonzie Colson Junior F Notre Dame ACC
Jawun Evans Sophomore PG Oklahoma State Big 12
Marcus Foster Junior G Creighton Big East
De'Aaron Fox Freshman G Kentucky SEC
Markelle Fultz Freshman G Washington Pac 12
Ethan Happ R-Sophomore F Wisconsin Big Ten
Josh Hart Senior G Villanova Big East
Josh Jackson Freshman G Kansas Big 12
Justin Jackson Junior F/G North Carolina ACC
Marcus Keene Junior G Central Michigan MAC
Luke Kennard Sophomore G Duke ACC
Jock Landale Junior C St. Mary's West Coast
TJ Leaf Freshman F UCLA Pac 12
Lauri Markkanen Freshman F Arizona Pac 12
Frank Mason III Senior G Kansas Big 12
Donovan Mitchell Sophomore G Louisville ACC
Malik Monk Freshman G Kentucky SEC
Monte Morris Senior G Iowa State Big 12
Jonathan Motley Junior F Baylor Big 12
Alec Peters Senior F Valparaiso Horizon League
Dennis Smith Jr. Freshman G NC State ACC
Caleb Swanigan Sophomore F Purdue Big Ten
Sindarius Thornwell Senior G South Carolina SEC
Melo Trimble Junior G Maryland Big Ten
Nigel Williams-Goss R-Junior G Gonzaga West Coast

This also comes on the heels of Vegas giving Markkanen 20/1 odds to be named the National Player of the Year.

National Player of the Year odds

Player Odds
Player Odds
Frank Mason (Kansas) 5/2
Josh Hart (Villanova) 4/1
Lonzo Ball (UCLA) 6/1
Malik Monk (Kentucky) 7/1
Justin Jackson (North Carolina) 15/2
Luke Kennard (Duke) 12/1
Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame) 16/1
Ethan Happ (Wisconsin) 16/1
Caleb Swanigan (Purdue) 16/1
Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga) 16/1
Trevon Bluiett (Xavier) 18/1
Lauri Markkanen (Arizona) 20/1
Dennis Smith (NC State) 20/1
Jonathan Motley (Baylor) 22/1
Kelan Martin (Butler) 33/1

Through 25 games, Markkanen is Arizona’s leading scorer (15.6 ppg) and rebounder (7.3 rpg). He also has the best three-point and free throw percentages — by far — among Wildcat players this year. Lauri is shooting 47.5% from three and 84% from the charity stripe. Kadeem Allen is the next closest from three, having dropped down to 43.4%. Kobi Simmons is second on the team in free throw shooting at 80%.

According to DraftExpress, Markkanen is the 7th-best NBA Draft prospect this year. At 7-feet and 225 pounds, his skillset is quite unique, and should translate to the NBA right away, at least on the offensive end.

Markkanen and the Wildcats return to the court Saturday night in Tucson. They will face the California Golden Bears at 8 PM MT on ESPN2.