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Arizona basketball: Lauri Markkanen declares for the 2017 NBA Draft

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The 7-footer is going pro after one season with the Wildcats

St. Mary's v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Lauri Markkanen is heading to the NBA after one season with the Arizona Wildcats, the big man announced Thursday at a press conference in Tucson.

Markkanen said he will enter the draft and intends to hire an agent per DraftExpress.com, ending any chance of him returning to the Wildcats.

DraftExpress.com projects Markkanen will be the No. 8 pick in the NBA Draft, and most publications project he will be picked in the top 10, making it understandable why he would forgo his final three years of eligibility.

The 7-footer averaged 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds in his lone season in Tucson, shooting 49.2 percent from the field and 42.3 percent from 3.

Markkanen was voted a Third Team All-American by the Associated Press, USA Today, Sporting News, NBC Sports, and NABC. He was also named to the All-Pac-12 First Team and twice was the conference’s Player of the Week.

Before landing at Arizona, Markkanen was a five-star recruit out of Helsinki Academy in Finland.

Markkanen may not be the last Wildcat to declare for the draft as Kobi Simmons, Allonzo Trier, and Rawle Alkins are expected to consider heading to the professional ranks.

Early entrants have until April 23 to declare for the NBA Draft and then have until June 12 to withdraw (unless they sign with an agent).

Markkanen will likely become the sixth Arizona Wildcat to be selected in the first round in the Sean Miller era, joining Derrick Williams, Solomon Hill, Aaron Gordon, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Stanley Johnson.

The NBA Combine is set for May 9-14 and the 2017 NBA Draft is scheduled for June 22.


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