Lauri Markkanen continues to make a strong argument as college basketball’s best versatile big man, and Arizona’s win 79-62 win over Washington State on Thursday night was further indicative of that.
“The threes that he was hitting in the first half were shots that you don’t often times see a guy make in college,” Sean Miller said following the victory.
“He’s a very good player and an even better teammate. He has other guys that are playing with him who are very good as well and it's only made him better.”
Markkanen finished the evening with 16 points and 13 rebounds and the Fin’s third double-double of the season speaks volumes about the skills he possesses well beyond simply shooting the ball.
“For him not to be considered one of the best freshman in college basketball is a complete joke,” Miller said. “I will put him up against anybody, not just freshman, toe to toe with the quality of player he is.
“I don’t care if you’re from Finland, Russia, China, Japan, North Dakota, California or New York City. If you have eyes and you’re watching Arizona play, you should realize that there are not many players that play the way he does.”
Miller admits that Markkanen has been nothing short of a pleasure to coach and watch develop further on a daily basis.
“His future in the game of basketball is extraordinarily bright,” he said. “I’ve said this throughout the season but the thing that stands out is his love for the game. He works as hard at the game as any player that we’ve had here.
“Although Lauri is very talented, he’s a great teammate and unselfish. Those three things usually don’t accompany somebody that you’re talking so glowingly about.
“He helps team chemistry, he’s a winner and everyone in this program enjoys being around him. He’s willing to do anything that I ask him to do as a coach.”