Lauri Markkanen is in his second season with the Utah Jazz. His first was a resounding success: he participated in the All-Star Game, averaging 25.6 points and nearly 8.6 rebounds per night. He won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.
“It was a good experience.” Markkanen told Justin Spears of Tucson.com. “My offseason would have been a little different if I hadn’t gone. I think in the long run it will help me emphasize being a leader, being pushed and sometimes feeling uncomfortable, but still being part of the group. I obviously know how to handle adversity on the basketball court. I’ve been playing basketball all my life. I think it was a little different dealing with things I wasn’t familiar with and trying to figure things out as a group when things get a little difficult. In the long run, I think it was a great experience.”
The most difficult part of the Finnish military experience for Lauri Markkanen was the daily effort to combat adverse weather conditions.
“You wake up in the middle of the night in the woods and the fire’s gone out and it’s snowed in May, so you come out of the tent in your underwear and there’s snow on the ground and you’re a little cold and there’s no excuse with the weather. These are not crazy things, but little things like that made you uncomfortable in certain situations and made you learn things from (level) zero.”