Garza Named to Wooden Award National Ballot

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Los Angeles Athletic Club announced its Men’s National Ballot for the John R. Wooden Award on Saturday, which included University of Iowa junior Luka Garza.
Selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the National Ballot consists of 15 student-athletes who are candidates for the Wooden Award All American Team and Wooden Award Trophy as the most outstanding college basketball player in the United States. All candidates must exhibit strong character on and off the court, maintain a cumulative 2.00 grade point average, and excel both offensively and defensively.
In addition to being named to the Wooden Award National Ballot, Garza is a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award; semifinalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and Naismith Trophy, and on the Lute Olson Award Midseason List.
Garza (6-foot-11, 260 pounds) ranks first nationally with 12 20-point/10-rebound performances, second in field goals made (275) and 20-point games (24), third in points per 40 minutes played (29.9), fifth in scoring (23.7), ninth in 30-point games (5), 17th in double-doubles (15) and offensive rebounds per game (3.7), and 34th in rebounding (9.9). His 15 double-doubles are third most in a single-season by a Hawkeye in three decades and the most since 2002 (Reggie Evans, 18). Garza is one of two players in the country, and only player from a major conference, to average better than 23 points and nine rebounds per game.
Garza, who has led the Big Ten in scoring since November, surpassed 700 points on March 3 breaking Iowa’s 50-year old single-season scoring record. He has scored 20 points or more in a school-record 15 straight Big Ten games, the longest streak by any player in the Big Ten since Purdue’s Glenn Robinson (15 in 1994).
Garza has scored 25 points or more 12 times this season, including the last two contests (Penn State and Purdue). He has controlled 12 or more rebounds 10 times this season, a total that ties for 14th best in the NCAA. The native of Washington, D.C., is the only Big Ten player to register seven 25-point/10-rebound performances in the same season in more than 17 years.
Garza, who is seeking to become Iowa’s first Big Ten MVP since Sam Williams in 1968, has been a force with his back to the basket in the post and facing defenders on the perimeter. He has produced the two highest point totals in a game by a Big Ten player this season (44 at Michigan; 38 at Indiana). Garza is one of two centers in the nation shooting 35 percent or better from 3-point range (min. 100 attempts).
Voting for the Wooden Award will take place from March 16 -23, and voters take into consideration a player’s entire season of play, as well as the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation’s top five players and the finalists for the Wooden Award, will be announced following the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament and will be the focus of a 30-minute show on April 3 on ESPNU at 5:30 p.m. (CT).
The presentation of the Wooden Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards on April 10 in Los Angeles. The Wooden Award All American Team will be honored during the ceremony, and the Wooden Award Legends of Coaching Trophy will be presented to former Iowa head women’s coach C. Vivian Stringer.
No. 18 Iowa (20-10, 11-8) will play its regular season finale at No. 23 Illinois (20-9, 12-6) on Sunday at 6 p.m. (CT) in Champaign, Illinois. The winner of the Iowa-Illinois game will earn the No. 4 see at next week’s Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.
•  Wooden Award National Ballot
•  Naismith Trophy Semifinalist
•  Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Trophy Semifinalist
•  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Finalist
•  Lute Olson Award Top 30

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