The 2016 Arizona Wildcats recruiting class has been a big topic of conversation, but it officially has one player.
Lauri Markkanen has sent in his letter of intent, making his commitment to Arizona official.
"We are elated to add Lauri Markkanen as part of the future of our program," Sean Miller said in a statement. "Lauri is a 7-foot forward with an offensive skill level that allows him to score both on the perimeter and in the low post. He led the extremely-competitive FIBA U18 European Championships in scoring this past summer while representing his home country of Finland. That performance demonstrates his unique blend of talents that make him such a special player."
Markkanen committed to Arizona while he was in Tucson for the Red-Blue Game. That decision came before the game, and Lauri's father Pekka told Bruce Pascoe why that was the case:
"We both have a great feeling because we have done it, and Lauri feels he made the right decision," Pekka Markkanen said. "He was ready to do it. I told him, ‘Don't let the scrimmage affect your decision.' If you know it already, you can tell them before the scrimmage.' "
Arizona will lose a few big men after this season, as Kaleb Tarczewski, Ryan Anderson, and Mark Tollefsen will all graduate. It will be no surprise to see Markkanen play immediately:
"Lauri is also an exceptional student, a high-character person and a basketball player that loves the game," Miller noted. "He will impact our program both on and off the court from the moment he arrives in Tucson."
Welcome Lauri Markkanen to the Arizona family, officially.