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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa junior center Luka Garza was named the recipient of the Pete Newell Big Man of the Year Award given to the country’s top post player. The announcement was made by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) on Monday.
The award is named after Pete Newell, a former coach who ran the Pete Newell Big Man Camp for low-post players from 1976 until his death in 2008. No player was more dominant in the paint in 2019-20 than Garza. He is the first Hawkeye to win the award and the fifth Big Ten player to earn the honor.
Last week, it was announced that Garza was a unanimous consensus first-team All-American. Garza joins former Hawkeyes Murray Wier (1948) and Charles Darling (1952) as the program’s only consensus first team All-Americans.
Five major news outlets have already named Garza as its national player of the year: Sporting News, Basketball Times, Stadium, Bleacher Report, and ESPN. Garza is the first Iowa men’s basketball player to earn national player of the year distinction.
The Washington, D.C., native is also a finalist for the Naismith Trophy, Wooden Award, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.
Garza (740 points and 305 rebounds) is one of three Big Ten players to ever to total 740+ points and 300+ rebounds in a single-season (Purdue’s Glenn Robinson in 1994 and Purdue’s Joe Barry Carroll in 1979). He ranked second nationally with 12 20-point/10-rebound performances, 20-point games (25); third in total field goals made (287) and points per 40 minutes played (29.8), fifth in scoring (23.9), 10th in 30-point games (5), 19th in double-doubles (15) and offensive rebounds per game (3.58), and 34th in rebounding (9.8). 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 averaged 26.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 12 games against AP ranked opponents in 2019-20, including recording 11 straight 20-point performances, the longest streak by any player since UConn’s Kemba Walker in 2011.
The Big Ten and USBWA District VI Player of the Year, finished the 20-game conference schedule averaging 26.2 points per game, becoming the first player to average at least 26 points in Big Ten play since Purdue’s Glenn Robinson in 1994 (31.1 ppg). Garza scored a school-record 740 points this season, breaking the program’s 50-year old record previously set by John Johnson in 1970. He scored 20 points or more in a school-record 16 straight Big Ten games, the longest streak by any player in the Big Ten since Ohio State’s Dennis Hopson 16 in 1987.
Garza is the only Big Ten player to register seven 25-point/10-rebound performances in the same season in more than 17 years. He has produced the two highest point totals in a game by a Big Ten player this season (44 at Michigan; 38 at Indiana).
LUKA GARZA HONORS (2019-20)
• Sporting News, Basketball Times, Stadium, Bleacher Report, and ESPN National Player of the Year
• Dick Vitale, Seth Davis, Andy Katz’s National Player of the Year
• Unanimous Consensus First-Team All-America
• NABC Pete Newell Big Man of the Year
• Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Year
• USBWA District VI Player of the Year
• Naismith Trophy, Wooden Award, Oscar Robertson Trophy, Lute Olson Award, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year finalist