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Three Ways Luka Garza Impacts the Iowa Hawkeyes

BTP takes a look at how Garza can impact Iowa next season.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

There's only so much a college basketball fan can garnish from an overseas trip.

But, after the Iowa Hawkeyes wrapped up their four game series in Europe on Monday, it's safe to say there's a newcomer in the Big Ten who has raised many eyebrows with his performance across the Atlantic Ocean this past week.

Luka Garza, a 6-foot-11 freshman from the Washington D.C. area, has the potential to be a problem for opponents in his first season playing college basketball.

Over the course of four games in Europe, Garza averaged 22.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest playing against some questionable competition, but doing so in such a dominant and efficient manner that it's hard to overlook how special he could be for the Hawkeyes in his first season and beyond.

Not only are myself and Iowa fans buzzing about Garza's promise, but also CBS Sports' very own Jon Rothstein has been non-stop palpable buzzing about Garza's impact on the trip.

You get the idea.

If I was a coach, the one thing I'd want on my team other than a point guard who serves as a leader and makes his teammates around him better is a center who can handle his own in the paint.

Last year's Iowa team lacked the latter and therefore had to depend on their perimeter skill sets to carry them throughout the season.

The loss of high-scoring shooting guard Peter Jok may hurt the Hawkeyes on paper, but the emergence of Garza could be the extra push that puts Iowa back in the upper half of the Big Ten and the NCAA Tournament.

Here are three ways in which Luka Garza will make an impact in his first year with the Hawkeyes

-A reliable inside scorer.

At 6-foot-11, Garza will be one of the tallest guys on the floor no matter who his team is playing. With that kind of height, Garza already holds an advantage when it comes to scoring against opponents around the same size as him.

Combine his frame with his polished offensive game around the basket, and you got a big man who can score in the paint which takes a little pressure off the perimeter players who won't need to score as often as last year.

While Garza is known for his inside game, he's shown he can step out a couple of feet and hit a mid-range jumper which will keep defenders on their heels.

-Opens up the floor for teammates.

Garza's presence not only allows more opportunities inside but also on the perimeter. If Garza starts drawing double teams or opponents are putting together special schemes to limit his effectiveness scoring the ball, it puts his teammates in a great position to get an open look.

Garza's size allows him to see the floor better than a typical shorter player and his ability to spot out an open teammate makes the Iowa offense very difficult to guard.


An extra player in the rotation can do wonders for a team. With Garza seeing a majority minutes at the center spot this year, it will allow sophomore Tyler Cook to play his preferred position of power forward.

Along with these two, there's also Cordell Pemsl who contributed as a freshman last year and diaper dandy Jack Nunge a top-150 recruit out of Castle, Indiana who will see some minutes this season at the four or five spot.

While there will be some growing pains as Garza progresses through the season, I think somewhere along the way this season we will see the positive impact he has on this Iowa program.


Expect Garza to make a significant impact for the Hawkeyes next season and, if so, perhaps Iowa can get back to the NCAA Tournament.