By Matthew Weitzel
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Senior Luka Garza became the University of Iowa’s first winner of the John R. Wooden Player of the Year Award. The announcement was made Tuesday evening by the Los Angeles Athletic Club during ESPN SportsCenter.
Garza, the most dominant player in men’s college basketball, swept all the major postseason awards (Wooden, Naismith, Associated Press, Oscar Robertson, NABC, Lute Olson, Sporting News) to become the consensus unanimous national player of the year for 2021.
Voting took place from March 15-22, 2021. As insisted upon by Coach Wooden at the Award’s creation 45 years ago, all players were certified by their universities as meeting or exceeding the criteria of the John R. Wooden Award.
“Winning the Wooden Award means so much to myself and my family. 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."Senior, Luka Garza
Iowa’s first two-time unanimous consensus first-team All-American led the nationally-ranked Hawkeyes to 22 victories and a third place Big Ten finish in 2021. The Washington, D.C., native led the nation in total points (747), player efficiency rating (35.84), 30-point games (8), field goals made (281), and 20-point games (22). Garza ranked second nationally in points per game (24.1), fifth in free throw attempts (199), 10th in free throw makes (141), and 11th in double-doubles (13). His 747 points extended the single-season school record he set last season (740).
The two-time Big Ten Player of the Year broke Iowa’s 32-year old scoring record held by Roy Marble on Feb. 21, 2021. He finished his Hawkeye career with 2,306 points, which ranks seventh-best in Big Ten history. In addition to ranking first in career scoring, Garza is tops at Iowa in 30-point games (13), conference scoring (1,399), field goals made (870), field goal attempts (1,594), and 40-point games (2); second in rebounds (931); fourth in double-doubles (34); fifth in blocked shots (154); sixth in free throw makes (446) and attempts (636); and 16th in 3-pointers made (120). He is the only men’s basketball player in Big Ten history to accumulate 2,250 points and 900 rebounds.
"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.”Senior, Luka Garza
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award Program hosts the most prestigious honors in college basketball recognizing The Wooden Award Most Outstanding Player for men and women, The Wooden Award All American Teams for men and women and the annual selection of the Wooden Award Legend of Coaching recipient. Honorees have proven to their university that they meet or exceed the qualifications of the John R. Wooden Award as set forth by Coach Wooden and the Wooden Award Steering Committee, including making progress towards graduation and maintaining at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed over one million dollars to the universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the Wooden Award All American recipients and has sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps.
For up-to-date information on the Wooden Award, visit woodenaward.com.
2021 LUKA GARZA HONORS
• John R. Wooden Player of the Year Award & All-American
• Naismith Trophy
• Lute Olson National Player of the Year Award
• Associated Press College Basketball Player of the Year
• Oscar Robertson Trophy
• NABC Division I Player of the Year
• Senior CLASS Award
• Sporting News, Basketball Times, The Athletic National Player of the Year
• Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Year
• USBWA District VI Player of the Year
• NABC Pete Newell Big Man of the Year
• First Team All-America (NABC, Associated Press, Sporting News, USBWA)
• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award
• Big Ten All-Tournament Team honoree
• Three-time Big Ten Player of the Week