IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced on Friday the 10 finalists for the 2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, which includes University of Iowa junior Luka Garza.
Named after Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its sixth year recognizes the top centers in Division I men’s college basketball. Fans can vote for their favorite player at hoophallawards.com.
In addition to be named a finalist of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, Garza is on the John R. Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 and Lute Olson Award Top 30 lists.
Garza (6-foot-11, 260 pounds) ranks first nationally with ten 20-point/10-rebound games this season, fourth in scoring (23.2), third in points per 40 minutes played (30.2), sixth in double-doubles (13), and 30th rebounding (10.0). His 13 double-doubles are the most by a Hawkeye in a single season since Reggie Evans’ 18 during the 2001-02 season. Garza is one of only two players in the country (only player from a Power 5 Conference) averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds per game.
The native of Washington, D.C., has totaled 533 points, the most by a Hawkeye to start a season in 49 years. He is the first Hawkeye since Fred Brown in 1971 to score 20+ points in eight straight Big Ten games. Garza is one of three centers in the nation shooting 37 percent or better from 3-point range (min. 70 attempts).
He is one of three Big Ten players to have five or more 25-point/10-rebound performances in the same season since the 2009-10 season (Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan, 2016-17; Ohio State’s Evan Turner, 2009-10).
Garza has scored 25 points or more nine times this season, including five of the last seven contests. He has controlled 10 or more rebounds in 12 games and 12 or more rebounds eight times this season.
In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee for the 2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award. The winner of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented at the College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles on April 10.
No. 17 Iowa (16-7, 7-5) hosts Nebraska (7-15, 2-9) on Saturday. The sold out game will take place at 5 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.