Lauri Markkanen had an up and down showing in the summer, but has turned some heads with his play for Finland at EuroBasket.
The Bulls' first-round pick in the June draft has been leading Finland, one of four host countries in the tournament along with Israel, Romania and Turkey, through the first three games in the tournament.
Markkanen carried Finland to an overtime win against France in the opener. He scored 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting and had seven rebounds. He also took over late to carry Finland to the win.
Markkanen scored 14 PTS in the last 3:35 of regulation + OT via jump hook, tip dunk, lefty finish, two spot 3s & a 2-dribble pull up going L pic.twitter.com/va4x1WWZOw— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) August 31, 2017
In Finland's second game, Markkanen once again led the team in scoring with 24 points, but the Finns lost 81-78. He was once again efficient from the floor, making 9 of 13 shots including going 3-for-4 from 3-point range. He again added seven rebounds.
In that game he picked up an ankle injury on the last play of the game.
Markkanen steps out of bounds on game-tying attempt, injures himself on the play. He's being helped off the court after the game. pic.twitter.com/uQWBegS5Zk— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) September 2, 2017
Hearing from Bulls personnel that Markkanen's injury isn't bad, and it's likely he plays Sunday https://t.co/qMom6yIjlX— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) September 2, 2017
Markkanen did play Sunday and put in another big performance, again coming up huge down the stretch to give Finland a win in double overtime against Poland. He scored 27 points and had nine rebounds.
He also came up with a massive play to send the game to overtime:
At 24.3 points per game, Markkanen is currently third in the tournament in scoring and he is doing so while shooting 56.3 percent from the field. He is also 10th in rebounds per game at 7.7.
Finland is getting huge crowd support as one of the host teams and Markkanen is the team's star.
Markkanen with go-ahead layup on a straight line drive and Helsinki Arena is electric. Another big time game here in Finland. pic.twitter.com/jQP4H8VP1C— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) September 2, 2017
At 2-1, Finland is in good position to advance to the 16-team knockout phase of the tournament. They still have group games against Greece on Tuesday and winless Iceland on Wednesday.
Markkanen seems to be enjoying his time in the spotlight in his home country. Bulls fans will be hoping this success translates to the NBA.