Luka Garza is Iowa basketball's first AP men's national player of year, adds Oscar Robertson Trophy

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Awards season in college basketball continued Thursday with a two big ones for Iowa, as all-American center Luka Garza was named the Associated Press national player of the year and winner of the Oscar Robertson Trophy, presented by the United States Basketball Writers Association.

He is the first Hawkeye men's player to win those honors.

Garza averaged 24.1 points a game, second among Division I players, for a Hawkeye team that was ranked in the national top 10 almost the entire season. Garza scored 747 points (first nationally) with eight 30-point games and 22 20-point games for an Iowa team that finished 22-9 and fell to Oregon in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He also averaged 8.7 rebounds and shot 55.3% from the floor.

The 6-foot-11 center from Washington, D.C., finished second in last year's AP voting to Dayton's Obi Toppin. This time, Garza received 50 of 63 possible votes from AP Top 25 voters. Illinois' Ayo Dosunmu had the second-most votes, with six. Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham got three, followed by Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert and Baylor’s Jared Butler with two each.

Iowa center Luka Garza accepted the AP National Player of the Year trophy on Thursday.

More:Leistikow: Luka Garza scores 36 points, says he didn't do enough in Iowa's NCAA Tournament exit

Garza began his acceptance remarks with the AP by thanking his teammates who passed him the ball, saying, "I feel like this award is a team award, not an individual award, especially as a big man. I couldn't do anything without my guards and without guys who are able to put me in positions to score."

More:Keegan Murray, Patrick McCaffery will define next year's Iowa basketball season … and beyond

Garza finished his four-year Iowa career with 2,306 points, tops in school history and No. 7 on the Big Ten Conference's all-time list. He scored 870 baskets, including 120 3-pointers, and 446 free throws while grabbing 931 rebounds. He is the only men's player in Big Ten history to amass 2,250 points and 900 rebounds.

It was announced during Iowa's home finale that his No. 55 will be retired. It's been quite a run.

"Lastly, I want to say that the University of Iowa changed my life," Garza said. "I'm so grateful I was able to play here and wear the Hawkeye across my chest for four years."

More:Iowa's Garza named Big Ten's top player for second straight year; Wieskamp on second team

Earlier Thursday, Garza was named the winner of the Lute Olson Award — given to the nation's top player. Garza had previously been named national player of the year by Sporting News, Basketball Times and The Athletic.

Garza would need to win three more player-of-the-year honors to be the consensus national player of the year: The National Basketball Coaches Association award comes Friday; the Naismith Trophy will be handed out Saturday; the Wooden Award will be on Tuesday. 

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