You get some great ones, and you’re thrilled to have them, and they go for 20 every once in a while. We just don’t know. Iowa’s Luka Garza is Sporting News’ 2019-20 Player of the Year. With each passing day, confirmed cases around the country increase. Luka Garza is slated to announce his decision on returning to Iowa for a senior season or entering the NBA Draft on Sunday, August 2nd. The center says at the end of the day, I felt very confident that I wanted to come back and finish my career at the University of Iowa. “It’s not something you get to experience very often as a coach. He plays so much because he fouls so rarely, maintaining the discipline to “get tall,” as McCaffery describes it, and keep his hands high. If Garza is going to average 32 minutes a game, Iowa needs 20 more at the 4/5 next season. These Cookies are necessary for the performance of the Services and may not be removed. Let’s pause to examine what exactly Iowa needs from Garza next year. Despite being Iowa’s first consensus first team all-American in nearly 70 years, breaking the Hawkeyes’ all-time single season scoring record and having one of the single greatest seasons in Big Ten history, Garza wasn’t the AP or Naismith player of the year. Though he’ll be returning from an injury, the role would be a simplification for him while making the load easier for Garza. You’re just bound to have an off game; you’re bound to have a 4-for-14. If they’re between 15 and 20, you’re happy. He has accolades left to collect, records to shatter and championships to win. Garza is coming off of a season where he averaged 23.8 points and 9.8 boards for a top 25 team, was named a first-team All-American and put himself alongside Dayton’s Obi Toppin in the race for National Player of the Year. Since the 2019-2020 season was cut short and Garza was robbed of his chance to help Iowa on a Big Ten or NCAA Tournament run, the smart money was on the DC big man returning to college. Beyond all that potential, Garza has a slew of unfinished business to attend to at Iowa. Garza has faced tag-teams from Illinois (Kofi Cockburn-Giorgi Bezhanishvili), Penn State (John Harrar-Michael Watkins) and Purdue (Matt Haarms-Trevion Williams). With more and more universities announcing decisions to hold online classes only this fall, the Big Ten and PAC-12 won’t be facing opponents from outside their respective conferences. Analytical Cookies also help us measure the performance of our advertising campaigns in order to help us improve our advertising campaigns and to optimize our Services' content for those who engage with our advertising. And thus, all the uncertainty Luka Garza was looking to avoid in a potential NBA Draft to instead come back to what was certain to be an historic senior season at Iowa has been totally flipped on its head. Get your body right. So why not give the award to Toppin when you could surely give it to Garza in 2021? So anything “new” we see from Luka next season, whether it is in Iowa City or some NBA city, is anything but novel. ©2020 The Athletic Media Company. There are no Oscars for such performances, but there are other awards. Luka Garza is a smart, skilled big man that can shoot, score, and rebound the basketball. Those two things are, as you might expect, correlated. That would be the wrong decision given what we now see in front of us. He has been double-teamed, fronted, bumped, pushed, harassed and hounded. This is a borderline top 25 Iowa team without Luke Garza. The assumption is that Nunge will slide right into the role he played in the first part of last year, where he had his moments but also his struggles. That means Iowa will need to find 28+ minutes for the 4/5, depending on how much Garza plays. Usually a lot more. What makes this so interesting is that the Hawkeyes have talent alongside him. If you observed Garza at work, felt his tireless intensity, you’d get the feeling the movie they’d see would be, “Iowa vs. Penn State, 2/29/20.” He scored 25 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked four shots in that one. It’s a very difficult situation to be in and a daunting task for a college student. Further, it will dictate matchups to opponents. 18 Wisconsin, No. He recorded 15 double-doubles. Three days from now, a dentist will remove the wire in his mouth. Whether they’ll find themselves in the NBA or at another college which isn’t Iowa State, remains to be seen for many, including the Iowa Hawkeyes’ Luka Garza. But he’s not a rim protector and he’s not a guy that can switch in pick-and-rolls. Garza understands the punishment that maneuver invites. Here's my favorite stat for Dotson, my No. “The people he’s playing against, even if they rotate guys on him, they get worn down. I think this Iowa capable of getting to a Final Four and winning a national title. By all accounts, Iowa enters the 2020-2021 season as a clear top-10 team and a borderline top-5 team. Open Article in App. It is, more or less, a direct callback to Garza’s game-sealing three against Illinois at Carver-Hawkeye. 21 Illinois. Posted on : 03/10/2020. Frederick had a really promising freshman season. It is not that often that we see players return to school after seasons where they received accolades like Player of the Year and first-team All-American. Those expectations run on the assumption Luka Garza, the best player in college basketball a year ago, returns for a senior season where he is again the best player in the nation. Things are ever evolving. I have to credit former commenter, StoopsMyAss, for this salient point in an email: with Nunge (or Ogundele) sprinting to the rim, where will opponents send their center? Obviously, as a coach, you can only imagine what a great feeling that is.”. Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire. For example, Cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our site or use a shopping cart. You see him and Frank working on “trailer 3s,” something he rarely did last year as Iowa’s rim-to-rim center. Ivy cancels conference tourneys, cites coronavirus, LeBron James backtracks on refusal to play in empty NBA arenas, Bellinger back in CF, Lowe higher in Rays’ lineup, All hell breaks loose in one of the craziest baseball plays you’ll ever see, Clayton Kershaw’s real postseason problem? “Doing it in this league … I mean, there’s just no relief,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery told Sporting News. Garza is accustomed to having company on a basketball court, usually in the form of defenders attempting to prevent him from catching the ball and scoring. ESPN+ Fantasy Tools: Play Like an Expert, Even If You Aren’t, being clearly better in every measurable way last season, the best player in college basketball a year ago, three more years of eligibility after suffering an ACL tear. The latter issue highlights the need for Fran to lighten the load amid a deeper team-wide rotation. Through his father, Frank Garza, we are given a unique peek behind the scenes at what Luka is doing in preparation for 2020-21 on Twitter. For more information about Cookies and how to adjust them, please see our. #Hawkeyes, #55 on the 2 min drill: game winner. That string of 20-point games is the third-longest in the Big Ten over the last 20 years. Considering the limitations of Nunge & Ogundele, the perimeter focus of Luka’s offseason will have a direct translation into his game next season, assuming he returns. It’s still possible we simply get no season at all. Though he has flown under the radar, he is a skilled player that could be a good find for an NBA team in the second round range of the 2021 draft. Cassius Winston did it. Therein lies the problem for Hawkeye fans. Luka Garza made it official on Sunday: He will be pulling his name out of the NBA draft and returning to Iowa for his senior season. Three days from now, a dentist will remove the wire in his mouth. He has been challenged by such extraordinary big men as Maryland’s Jalen Smith, Rutgers’ Myles Johnson and the smaller but amazingly oppressive Xavier Tillman of Michigan State. IOWA CITY, Iowa — It’s a good time to be Luka Garza. With that evolution comes the potential for a vastly different NCAA basketball season.

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