Star Iowa center Luka Garza seemed to be caught off guard Saturday when it was announced that the team would be retiring his No. 55 jersey. The 6-foot-11 senior became emotional when he was honored right after the team's 77–73 win over Wisconsin.
Garza, who made the national ballot for the John R. Wooden Award on Saturday, just finished the game with 21 points and 16 rebounds before the surprise announcement.
With tears in his eyes and periodically pausing to wipe them with his jersey, Garza gave an emotional speech as his time with the No. 5 Hawkeyes comes to an end. He started by thanking coach Fran McCaffrey.
"You changed my life," Garza said. "I will forever be grateful to you and your family."
And like any other leader, thanked his teammates for their support over the years.
"I wouldn't be nothing without you guys," he said. "You guys made me look good for four years and I wouldn't be standing right here if it weren't for any of you."
The speech was at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, but in front of hundreds of fan cut-outs and empty seats. It was mentioned that there would be a more complete ceremony sometime in the future for Garza with actual fans in attendance, but the senior didn't forget about them.
"Thank you to Hawkeye Nation, I love this place."