Luka Garza Headlines Wooden Award Watch List
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa All-American Luka Garza headlines the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List, which was announced on Tuesday.
Garza has been named to every major preseason All-America and player of the year watch list, including the NABC and Naismith awards.
Yesterday, Garza earned the first Big Ten Player of the Week honor for 2020-21 after averaging 33.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks in wins over North Carolina Central and Southern University. The native of Washington, D.C., scorched the nets making 86.2 percent (25-of-29) of his field goal attempts, 75 percent from 3-point range (3-of-4), and 87.5 percent from the foul line (14-of-16). His 33.5 scoring average is tops among Division I players.
Garza has netted 20 points or more in 18 straight contests, dating back to last season. That ties Oklahoma’s Trae Young (2017-18) for the second-longest streak by a major conference player over the last 20 seasons, trailing only North Carolina State’s T.J. Warren (19).
Garza was a dominant force in 2019-20, earning National Player of the Year (six national media outlets) and Big Ten Player of the Year distinction, along with earning consensus first-team All-America laurels. Garza (740 points and 305 rebounds) was one of three Big Ten players to ever to total 740+ points and 300+ rebounds in a single season. He ranked second nationally with 12 20-point/10-rebound performances, 20-point games (25); fifth in scoring (23.9); 19th in double-doubles (15), and 34th in rebounding (9.8). Garza averaged 26.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 12 games against AP ranked opponents in 2019-20, including recording 11 straight 20-point performances.
Garza finished the 2019-20 20-game conference schedule averaging 26.2 points per game, becoming the first player to average at least 26 points in Big Ten play since Purdue’s Glenn Robinson in 1994 (31.1 ppg). Garza scored a school-record 740 points in 2019-20, breaking the program’s 50-year old record previously set by John Johnson in 1970.
Garza (44 at Michigan; 41 vs. Southern) is one of two players in Iowa history to score 40 points or more in two games in a career (John Johnson, 49 and 46).
The National Ballot consists of 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they meet or exceed the qualifications of the Wooden Award. Nearly 1,000 voters will rank in order 10 of those 15 players when voting opens prior to the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performance during early round games. The Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2021 John R. Wooden Award will be presented following the NCAA Tournament in April.
Garza and the No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0) host Western Illinois (0-0) on Thursday. The contest is scheduled to start at 7:03 p.m. (CT) and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Luka Garza 2020-21
• Associated Press Unanimous Preseason All-American
• Blue Ribbon First Team Preseason All-American
• CBS Sports First Team Preseason All-American
• Dick Vitale Preseason Player of the Year
• Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year
• Naismith Trophy Player of the Year Watch List
• Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List
• NABC Division I Player of the Year Preseason Watch List
• Unanimous All-Big Ten Preseason Team
• Kareem Abdul Jabbar Center of the Year Watch List
• Big Ten Player of the Week (Nov. 30, 2020)