ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected the Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen as its Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for games ending the week of Sunday, Jan. 22. The USBWA’s weekly honor is presented by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook.
As the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week, Markkanen was nominated for the weekly award, which was chosen by a representative of the USBWA board of directors from a list of Division I conference players of the week. This is the eighth season that the USBWA has selected a national player of the week.
Markkanen, 7-0 forward from Jyväskylä, Finland, averaged 20.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in a road sweep of USC and UCLA, shooting 14-of-22 from the field (.636) and 8-of-10 (.800) behind the arc. His game-high 23 points (8-12 FG, 5-6 3FG) at USC marked the 11th game this season he has led the Wildcats in scoring. He followed up with 18 points (6-10 FG, 3-4 3FG) to help Arizona win at No. 3 UCLA for its best true road win over a ranked opponent since downing No. 1 Stanford in March 2001.
Markkanen’s performance helped the Wildcats extend their winning streak to 12 games and to remain unbeaten in conference play (7-0). Monday, Markkanen was included in the USBWA’s Oscar Robertson Trophy (National Player of the Year) and Wayman Tisdale Award (National Freshman Player of the Year) midseason watch lists.
Since the 1958-59 season, the USBWA has named a National Player of the Year. In 1998, the award was named in honor of the University of Cincinnati Hall of Famer and two-time USBWA Player of the Year Oscar Robertson. It is the nation’s oldest award and the only one named after a former player.
Only around 55,400 babies were born in Finland last year. The last time so few were born in a single year was in 1868, during an extended period of famine.