NBA Draft 2021: Detroit Pistons select Iowa's Luka Garza in the second round

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

The most prolific player in Iowa basketball history is now an NBA draft pick.

Luka Garza, the two-time consensus all-American and reigning national player of the year, was selected in the second round of Thursday’s NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons with the No. 52 overall pick.

In a recent interview with the Register, Garza was not worried where he was picked … or if he was picked. It was all about finding the right situation.

“I don’t care what number it is, one through 60, it’s all about finding the right organization that believes in you and who you are as a player,” he said, “like (Fran) McCaffery did for me when I was a sophomore in high school."

It turned out he was No. 52.

Garza was watching the draft with family in his native Washington, D.C. The No. 7 scorer in Big Ten Conference history (and No. 1 at Iowa, with 2,306 career points) now takes his mesmerizing offensive skills to the next level. His next chapter now begins. And with Garza's legendary work ethic and incredible thirst for improvement, good luck doubting him.

Garza (who measured 6-foot-11, 242 pounds at the NBA Combine) averaged 24.1 points per game, second-most in Division I, and scored 30-plus points eight times as an Iowa senior. Garza’s outside shot (he connected on 44 of 100 3-point tries in his final year) is something that will complement his efficient inside game at the next level. The biggest pro questions are surrounding Garza’s defense, but the fact that he lost nearly 30 pounds with a "flexitarian" diet since Iowa’s season and showed better quickness at the Combine and individual workouts ended helped his cause.

The selection means Garza will be united with former Hawkeye teammate Tyler Cook, who made his mark with the Pistons late last season. Cook played two seasons at Iowa with Garza before turning pro. If Cook is on the Pistons roster as of Aug. 11, his $1.7 million contract with Detroit for next season would become guaranteed.

Garza and the No. 41 overall selection of Iowa teammate Joe Wieskamp to the San Antonio Spurs marked the first time two Hawkeyes have been chosen in the same draft since Ricky Davis and Ryan Bowen in 1998. They are the first two Hawkeyes chosen, period, since Aaron White in 2015.