On Sunday, the Iowa Hawkeyes got news fans have been hoping to hear for quite some time. Star big man and last year’s Big Ten Player of the Year Luka Garza announced on Sunday afternoon that he would be foregoing the 2020 NBA Draft and returning to campus for his senior season with the program. Obviously, it was huge news for Fran McCaffery and staff and should set up the Hawkeyes for quite a season.
Luka Garza is BACK for Iowa.— Thomas Beindit (@tbeindit) August 2, 2020
Garza may have arrived on campus with mixed expectations, but he quickly showed productivity on the court and turned into a star last season. In the pandemic-shortended campaign, Garza won Big Ten Player of the Year honors and averaged 23.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. He scored at least 20 points in nearly every game last season and also finished with KenPom Player of the Year honors.
This return also wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Garza had a legitimate professional profile and there were questions from many about what he had to gain by returning to school. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie rated him as a top 100 prospect and things certainly became even trickier in light of the current health pandemic. Of course, fans will now get one more year to enjoy Garza in Iowa City before seeing what he can do as a pro prospect.
For Iowa, this is massive news. Garza was the team’s best player last season and figures to be a force on the court next year as well. Add in Jordan Bohannon and CJ Fredrick in the backcourt, Joe Wieskamp on the wing, and the Murray’s upfront and there’s a lot to like about the Hawkeyes. The team figures to be a top five unit entering this season and should have a serious shot at a Big Ten and national title.
What Garza and Iowa will accomplish next season remains to be seen, but this has to be exciting news for fans and the coaching staff.