Iowa’s Luka Garza Wins Naismith Trophy


Iowa center Luka Garza shoots during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Rutgers, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Luka Garza was named the winner of the 2021 Naismith Trophy, the award for college basketball’s most outstanding player.

“Winning an award in Naismith’s name is an honor my family and I will always treasure,” Garza said. “Naismith changed my life, and so many others by creating the game that so many love. In 2015, when my dad and I watched Frank Kaminsky accept the Naismith Trophy in Indianapolis, I never thought I would be in this position six years later. I am forever thankful to the University of Iowa, Coach McCaffery, the rest of the coaching staff, my teammates, my family, and the countless other people and coaches who have helped me along the way. This is not an individual honor, but a team award and I am so proud to be able to bring this award home to Iowa City. Thank you to the Atlanta Tipoff Club for this prestigious award and thank you to Naismith for changing my life and so many others with the game of basketball.”

Garza led the nationally-ranked Hawkeyes to 22 wins this season. 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). He ranked second nationally in points per game (24.1).

Garza has also been named national player of the year by the Associated Press, National Association of Basketball Coaches, United States Basketball Writers Association (Oscar Robertson Trophy), Sporting News, Basketball Times, and The Athletic. He is a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, which will be announced on Tuesday.

Iowa is now just one of six institutions to have both a men’s and women’s Naismith Trophy honoree. Megan Gustafson was the recipient of the 2019 Naismith Trophy following her senior season. Iowa joins Duke, LSU, Notre Dame, Texas and Virginia in this category.

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