All-America center Garza passes on National Basketball Association to return to Iowa

Ruben Hill
August 5, 2020

Great news for Iowa Hawkeye basketball fans, Luka Garza, the 2020 National College Basketball Player of the Year by six national news outlets and Big Ten Player of the Year, announced on Sunday that he is returning to the University of Iowa for his senior season.

Garza, the Big Ten Player of the Year a season ago, averaged 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds for the Hawkeyes. He was also a Wooden Award finalist. With Garza back the Hawkeyes will be one of the favorites in the Big Ten.

The 6-foot-11, 260-pound center from Washington, D.C., scored 20 or more points in the last 16 games of his junior season, the longest streak by an Iowa player since 1971.

"I love this place too much to leave it", Garza said in a Sunday news conference.

Men's Basketball's Luka Garza Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Garza could still go back into the draft by August 17th, but he says unless a team tells him that he's the number one overall pick, he's staying at Iowa.

He ranks 10th in Iowa career blocked shots and double-doubles, and 12th in scoring. And I think, with that team, we could win a national championship, be a Final Four contender and be a Big Ten championship team. Sophomore point guard Joe Toussaint and redshirt sophomore Jack Nunge have also earned starting nods.

On top of that, Garza added that this was not because of fears that he would not be drafted. Like many Iowa fans, when I read that seemingly innocuous statement, ("just respect his decision") I thought the worst, immediately assuming that meant Garza would be leaving Iowa. "I had a lot of opportunities in the National Basketball Association as well as in Europe for a lot of moeny but at the end of the day I feel like the teams that like me this year will like me next year and they'll like me even more because I've put in a lot of work this summer". Garza scored a school-record 740 points in 2019-2020, breaking the program's 50-year old record previously set by John Johnson in 1970.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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