Garza Named Blue Ribbon's Preseason Player Of The Year

Iowa center is back for senior season.
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It's the first of what should be many preseason honors for Iowa center Luka Garza.

The senior has been named the preseason national player of the year by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook.

Garza was the Big Ten's player of the year last season, and was named the national player of the year by six national outlets.

Garza went through the NBA draft process, but announced in early August that he would be returning to the Hawkeyes.

"I didn't want to make a decision based on the unknown," Garza said. If I would have left based on there not being a (college basketball) season, I would have had to watch the team play without me. I would have been upset, and regretted that decision a lot. Whatever happens, I made the right decision and I won't regret it."

"He's such a great leader for us," guard Joe Wieskamp said. "It's good to have his leadership back."

"It just brings a whole different dimension to our team," guard CJ Fredrick said. "He was the most dominating player in college basketball last season."

Garza was all about the big numbers last season.

He finished with 740 points and 305 rebounds last season, becoming one of three Big Ten players to ever to total 740 or more points and 300 or more rebounds in a single-season, joining Purdue’s Glenn Robinson in 1994 and Purdue’s Joe Barry Carroll in 1979. He ranked second nationally with 12 20-point/10-rebound games and 25 20-point games.

Garza was 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).

Garza's 15 double-doubles are third most in a single-season by a Hawkeye in three decades and the most since Reggie Evans had 18 in 2002. Garza averaged 26.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 12 games against teams ranked in the Associated Press poll, including 11 consecutive 20-point performances.

Garza 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 Robinson's 31.1 points per game in 1994. Garza broke the program's 50-year old scoring 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.