Iowa's Luka Garza falls to Dayton's Obi Toppin in Naismith Trophy vote

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Dayton sophomore Obi Toppin beat out Iowa junior Luka Garza and three other finalists Friday in being named winner of the 2020 Naismith Trophy — national player of the year.

Garza has won several national player of the year awards ahead of Friday’s announcement on CBS Sports HQ, but has yet to pick up one of the biggies. Toppin was also named the winner of the Oscar Robertson Trophy (from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association) and Associated Press player of the year in the past week-plus. And now the Naismith Trophy, after a nationwide vote of coaches, administrators and media members.

Toppin averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds for the Flyers, who went 29-2 and finished No. 3 in the final AP Top 25. Garza, meanwhile, delivered a historic season for the 20-11 Hawkeyes. The 6-foot-11 center averaged 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds a game and assembled an Iowa-record 740 points, even in a season that was cut short due to concerns over the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Luka Garza averaged 23.9 points a game as a junior, and was even better in Big Ten games with an average of 26.2. He set a Hawkeye season record of 740 points.

One major award remains. The Wooden Award will presented Tuesday during the 4 p.m. CT edition of ESPN's SportsCenter. Garza is one of 10 finalists.

Kansas’ Udoka Azuibuike, Oregon’s Payton Pritchard and Seton Hall’s Myles Powell were the other Naismith finalists.