Iowa basketball: Luka Garza falls short in Wooden Award bid, reacts with humble tweet
Although Luka Garza's name was heavily mentioned throughout college basketball's award season, his quest for a marquee award officially ended Tuesday.
Garza narrowly missed on becoming the first Hawkeye to win the Wooden Award, annually given to college basketball's most outstanding player since 1977. He again lost out to Dayton's Obi Toppin, who edged Garza in winning the AP player of the year, Naismith Trophy and Oscar Robertson Trophy votes as well.
Toppin averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds for the Flyers (29-2), which finished No. 3 in the final AP Top 25. Garza, meanwhile, delivered a historic season for the Hawkeyes (20-11). 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 by the COVID-19 pandemic.
There was continual outcry from Iowa teammates and fans, but Garza still finishes with a lengthy accolade sheet. He was named Iowa's first player of the year by six noteworthy outlets — Sporting News, Basketball Times, Stadium, Bleacher Report, FOX and ESPN — while also earning unanimous consensus first-team all-American status.
Garza was named NABC Pete Newell big man of the year, Naismith Kareem Abdul-Jabbar center of the year, Big Ten men's basketball player of the year and USBWA District VI player of the year as well.
Shortly after Toppin was announced the winner, Garza took to Twitter with a admirable tone.
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.