Iowa basketball fans will know on Aug. 2 whether center Luka Garza will return for one final season with the program.
That's the day the senior will decide if he's going to take his name out of the NBA Draft process, Garza's father, Frank, said in an interview on Tuesday.
The NCAA deadline for withdrawing from the draft is Aug. 3.
“It’s what Luka wanted,” Frank Garza said. ”... I think what Luka wants to do is say, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to make that decision there.’ I think everyone understands why that would be. It’s not even enough time to do that. If the NCAA came out and said, ‘We’re going to give you till October 31,’ we’d take until October 31.”
The biggest factor in Luka’s decision remains the upcoming basketball season.
Frank Garza expressed that his son wants to win a national title, or at least compete for one. With the possibility of the fall college sports seasons being delayed or canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are more questions than answers surrounding the winter seasons.
“(Iowa coach) Fran (McCaffery) came out earlier and said (Luka’s decision) would be relatively soon, and Fran and I are in constant contact,” Frank Garza said. “Since he made that statement, the whole landscape has changed. We weren't talking two weeks ago about there not being fall sports. Winter is in jeopardy.”
Frank Garza said that he and Luka Garza have spoken with multiple NBA teams this offseason, including Milwaukee, Detroit, Denver, Portland, San Antonio, Minnesota, and Indiana.
“If we said today that we’re declaring… boom, (our schedule) would be filled up,” Frank Garza said.
In conversations with NBA teams, they've expressed their admiration for Luka’s offensive efficiency, his ability to stretch the floor, and his work ethic, but also his persona.
“(Indiana) and Milwaukee did some research,” Frank Garza said. “They talked to his teachers, they talked to his AAU folks. They found out Luka would go to this class over here, he was a math student - they liked that.”
League scouts do have some questions or concerns about Luka Garza’s game, and in turn, those have been areas he’s dedicated his offseason to: lateral quickness, pick-and-roll coverage, and communication.
But Garza also has the attention of professional European basketball teams. He has a multiple-year deal with one organization on the table, and he also has a “significant” deal for one season to play for another team, Frank Garza said.
Luka is essentially being pulled in three different directions — the NBA, professional basketball overseas, and returning to Iowa with the hope of competing for a national championship (if there is a season).
“(There’ll be) a lot of self inner-self management, a lot of breathing, a lot of meditation, because the reality is we’re not going to know,” Frank Garza said. “There’s now way that we’re going to about the winter (sports). What I’m hoping we see, that will help Luka, is that there’s behavioral change where people are wearing masks and they are concerned about the reality there will be no sports if it continues… what we do now determines what happens next.”
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