Earlier this week, Luka Garza of the Iowa Hawkeyes made history for Iowa becoming the first Wooden Award winner in program history. The award is given to the nation’s best player and Garza beat out a number of worthy contenders this year.
Garza entered the season with sky high expectations after a brilliant 2019-’20 season and did little to disappoint, averaging 24.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. He also showed up when it mattered most, scoring double-digits in the team’s final 10 games of the season, including 36 points in the team’s season finale against Oregon.
In a press release, Garza had the following to say:
“Winning the Wooden Award means so much to myself and my family,” said Garza. “John Wooden was someone my grandfather was friends with, and someone who I was taught a lot about growing up. I studied the Pyramid, and many of his books to try and become the teammate and player that could win a championship. I can’t thank Coach McCaffery and his staff enough for their role in helping me develop on and off the floor. I have had amazing teammates along the way, and I would not be here without them. I want to thank my family for their undying support of me throughout my career. Lastly, thank you to the University of Iowa for changing my life. I am so proud to bring this award to the University of Iowa for the first time.”
Along with making history for Iowa, Garza also made a mark for the Big Ten as well. He’s the first player to win since Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky in 2015 and just the third since 2010. Only six Big Ten players have won the award in its history.
Iowa may not have finished the season the way many would have liked, but it was still a fantastic year for the Hawkeyes and this award helps to show that. Garza was a superb player on a really good team and, as such, he has now won one of college basketball’s most prestigious awards.