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Garza is ESPN’s National Player of Year

AP FILE PHOTO - University of Iowa junior center Luka Garza celebrates after making a basket during the first half of a Big Ten Conference basketball game against Ohio State on Feb. 20 in Iowa City.

University of Iowa men’s basketball player Luka Garza was named National Player of the Year by ESPN and Stadium, and to their five-member All-America first teams on Tuesday.

The ESPN and Stadium honors are the second and third media outlets in as many weeks to tab Garza as their national player of the year (Sporting News). Garza is a first-team All-American by ESPN, USA Today, CBS Sports, Sporting News and NBC Sports.

Garza is the first player in Iowa history to earn national player of the year distinction. He was also voted the USBWA District VI Player of the Year and the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Year last week.

The Washington, D.C., native is a finalist for five national awards: Naismith Trophy, Oscar Robertson Trophy, Wooden Award, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, and the Lute Olson Award.

Garza (740 points and 305 rebounds) is one of three Big Ten players to ever to eclipse 740 points and 300 rebounds in a single season (Purdue’s Glenn Robinson in 1994 and Purdue’s Joe Barry Carroll in 1979). He ranked second nationally with 12 20-point/10-rebound performances, 20-point games (25); 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 2002 (Reggie Evans, 18).

Garza averaged 26.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 12 games against AP ranked opponents in 2019-20, including 11 straight 20-point performances.

Garza, who would become the first Hawkeye to ever win the Naismith Trophy, 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 Purdue’s Robinson in 1994 (31.1 ppg). Garza scored a school-record 740 points this season, breaking the program’s 50-year old 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.

Garza is the only Big Ten player to register seven 25-point/10-rebound performances in the same season in more than 17 years. He has produced the two highest point totals in a game by a Big Ten player this season (44 at Michigan; 38 at Indiana).

A list of Garza’s honors:

• ESPN National Player of the Year

• Sporting News National Player of Year

• Naismith Trophy Finalist

• Bleacher Report National Player of Year

• Seth Davis of The Athletic’s National Player of the Year

• Sporting News First-Team All-America

• CBS Sports First-Team All-America

• ESPN First-Team All-America

• NBC Sports First-Team All-America

• USA Today First-Team All-America

• Big Ten Conference Player of the Year

• USBWA District VI Player of the Year

• Wooden Award National Ballot

• Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Trophy Semifinalist

• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Finalist

• Lute Olson Award Top 30