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Markkanen on the NBA draft: "I want to compete against the best."

Posted: 7:43 PM, Jun 21, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-22 02:14:21Z
Lauri Markkanen will become the second ever NBA player from Finland when his name is called during the first round of Thursday's NBA Draft.
 
"It's going to be emotional," the former Arizona Wildcat freshman told reporters in New York on Wednesday. "But, I'm not nervous. I've done my work. I'm enjoying the moment, and looking forward to seeing where I'm going to be selected."
 
Markkanen averaged more than fifteen points and seven rebounds per game for Arizona last season. Known for his outside shooting, he is expected to be a late lottery pick, and he could be selected as early as number seven by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
 
"Minnesota is really interesting for him," said Draft Express Director of Scouting Mike Schmitz, who was a guest on the Zach Clark show on ESPN Radio Tucson. "He'd be next to a guy like Karl-Anthony Towns who addresses some of the shortcomings with Lauri, and allows him to face the floor and shoot on the move and do some of the things he's really good at."
 
While in New York City during draft week, Markkanen had dinner with New York Knicks president Phil Jackson, who will select the eighth pick. Another potential landing spot for the seven footer is the Dallas Mavericks at number nine.
 
"Obviously, there's the Mavericks and 'The second coming of Dirk Nowitzki' marketing campaign, so that would be a good fit for him," said Schmitz.
 
"I'm a really competitive person," added Markkanen. "I just want to compete against the best and I'm looking forward to every single game."
 
The last Wildcat to be selected in the top ten was Stanley Johnson, who was taken at number eight by Detroit in 2015.
 
Helsinki native Hanno Mottola played two seasons for the Atlanta Hawks from 2000-2002.
 
There are three other Arizona Wildcats who have an outside chance to be drafted. They are senior Kadeem Allen, sophomore Chance Comanche, and freshman Kobi Simmons. All three players could end up in the Gatorade League, which is the NBA's developmental league formerly known as the D-League.