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College Basketball: Iowa’s Luka Garza named Sporting News National Player of the Year

This news story was published on March 9, 2021.
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Iowa Hawkeyes center Luka Garza (55) yells after making a basket while being fouled during the second half of their B1G/ACC Challenge game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa on Tuesday, December 8, 2020. (Stephen Mally/

IOWA CITY – University of Iowa men’s basketball senior Luka Garza was named National Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-American by Sporting News on Tuesday.

Garza is the sixth men’s basketball player to be named National Player of the Year by Sporting News in consecutive seasons (2020-21) and first since Michael Jordan (1983-84). Other consecutive winners include Bill Walton (1969-70), Bill Bradley (1964-65), Jerry Lucas (1961-62), and Oscar Robertson (1958-60). Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won it twice, in 1967 and 1969, but his reign was interrupted by Elvin Hayes’ tremendous 1968 season.

Joining Garza on the five-player first team are Ayo Dosunmu of Illinois, Jared Butler of Baylor, Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert and Cade Cunningham of Oklahoma State. Sporting News is one of four outlets used by the NCAA to determine its consensus All-America teams (Associated Press, National Association of Basketball Coaches, United States Basketball Writers Association, and Sporting News).

The Washington, D.C., native is also a finalist for six national awards: Naismith Trophy, Oscar Robertson Trophy, Wooden Award, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, Senior CLASS Award, and the Lute Olson Award.

Men’s Basketball’s Luka Garza at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. (Brian Ray/

Garza (6-foot-11, 265 pounds) has led the fifth-ranked Hawkeyes to 20 victories this season, including wins in seven of their last eight. He leads the nation in total points (642); player efficiency rating (36.17); 30-point games (7); field goals made (240); and 22-point games (17). Garza is eighth nationally in free throw makes (125) and 13th in double-doubles (12).

Garza averaged 21.9 points per game during the 20-game conference schedule, becoming the third player since 1990 to lead the league in scoring in consecutive seasons (Michigan State’s Steve Smith and Evan Turner of Ohio State).

Garza broke the school’s 32-year old scoring record held by Roy Marble on Feb. 21, 2021. His 2,201 points rank 13th best in Big Ten history. In addition to ranking first in career scoring, Garza is tops at Iowa in conference scoring (1,399), total field goals made (829), field goal attempts (1,522), and 40-point games (2); second in 30-point games (12); fourth in double-doubles (33); fifth in rebounding (895); fifth in blocked shots (148); eighth in free throw makes (430); and 13th in 3-pointers made (113).

He is the only men’s basketball player in Big Ten history to accumulate 2,000 points, 850 rebounds, 125 blocked shots, and 100 3-pointers. Garza is the only Hawkeye in school history to amass four 400-point seasons and two 600-point seasons.

Fifth-ranked Iowa (20-7, 14-6) will open Big Ten Tournament play on Friday in the quarterfinals. Tipoff is scheduled for approximately 8 p.m. (CT) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

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