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Markkanen on watch list for Oscar Robertson and Wayman Tisdale awards

Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen (10) shoots between Colorado guard Derrick White (21) and Xavier Johnson (11) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona defeated Colorado 82-73. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

University of Arizona Wildcats forward Lauri Markkanen has had quite the season for the seventh-ranked Wildcats and the national media is taking notice.

This was clear when the U.S. Basketball Writers Association listed Markkanen to their midseason watch lists for both the Oscar Robertson Trophy for men’s national player of the year and Wayman Tisdale Award for men’s national freshman player of the year.

USBWA named 19 players to watch for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and 12 players for the Wayman Tisdale Award.

Markkanen is currently averaging 17.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while shooting .524 from the field, .500 from deep and .835 from the line.

The 7-foot forward from Jyvaskyla, Finland is making a case to be considered one of the greatest three point shooting big men in NCAA history.

His 2.4 made three pointers per game falls just short of the 2.5 needed to qualify for the leaderboards, but his .500 shooting on three pointers would have him tied for fourth in the country and would be the highest ever shooting clip from deep for a player over 6-foot-7.

The 19-year-old has played his best basketball recently, averaging 23.3 points per game on .615 shooting over the past four games.

The Wildcats sit at 18-2 on the season and are on a 12-game winning streak largely because of Markkanen’s play.

For these reasons, CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander has Markkanen eighth in his freshman rankings.

University of Oklahoma senior guard Buddy Hield (now of the New Orleans Pelicans) won the Oscar Robertson Trophy last season, while LSU forward Ben Simmons (now of the Philadelphia 76ers) took home the Wayman Tisdale Award.

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