Stay Or Go? Garza Plans Sunday Announcement

John Bohnenkamp

Iowa center Luka Garza will be announcing on Sunday whether he is going to return to the Hawkeyes for his senior season or keep his name in the NBA Draft process.

Garza, a consensus first-team All-American last season who was the Big Ten's player of the year, will be making his announcement at 12:15 p.m. (CT). His announcement can be seen live on the Iowa athletic department's YouTube page. 

Monday is the NCAA's deadline for withdrawing from the draft process.

Garza, a 6-foot-11 center, was named the national player of the year last season by six news outlets. If he would return next season, he would be considered a favorite for the award.

Garza was the first Iowa men’s basketball player to earn national player of the year distinction. He was also a unanimous consensus first-team All-America selection, joining former Hawkeyes Murray Wier (1948) and Charles Darling (1952) as the program’s only consensus first-team All-Americans.

Garza set a school single-season record with 740 points, and had 305 rebounds. He also was the USBWA's District VI player of the year.

Garza averaged 26.2 points per game in Big Ten play, and ended the season with a streak of 16 consecutive games of 20 or more points in conference play, matching the streak of Ohio State's Dennis Hopson in 1987.

Garza said in an interview last month he wants to “maximize my time” to make his decision.

“See if there’s any more announcements about anything that’s going to happen,” Garza said during his interview on the Iowa athletic department’s Facebook page, an event that included four other Hawkeyes who, like Garza, won Big Ten athlete of the year honors in their respective sports last season. “I have another interview set up, so I want to be able to do that. And then talk to my family and coaches, the people close to me, to make the decision possible.”

Garza elected to go through the draft process, but keep his eligibility to return if he didn’t find the right professional opportunity. If he comes back, the Hawkeyes will have five starters returning from a team that won 20 games last season and likely would have made the NCAA tournament had it not been cancelled because of the pandemic.

Garza said even though he has not been able to have individual workouts for NBA teams, he has appreciated the feedback.

“Honestly, I’ve (only) been able to do Zoom interviews, like this one here,” he said. “You just talk to different front offices and their personnel, what they think about me and what they perceive for my future as an NBA basketball player, and when the right time that is for me. So I’ve been able to do that with a lot of good teams, and I’ve learned a lot through this process, even though obviously I’m not face-to-face or working out with any of the teams. It’s definitely valuable to hear what they say and it’s definitely going to help me in the future.”

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