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Iowa’s Luka Garza to Test NBA Draft Process

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Iowa Hawkeyes forward Luka Garza (55) Wednesday, September 6, 2017 at Carver-Hakeye Arena. (Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com)

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa junior Luka Garza announced Friday that he will test the 2020 NBA Draft process while maintaining his NCAA eligibility. The 6-foot-11, 260-pound center plans to go through the process without an agent.

“This year was one I could never have imagined,” Garza said. “None of the awards or accolades could have happened without the University of Iowa, my coaches, and my teammates. Choosing Coach McCaffery and Iowa was the best decision I have ever made. With that said, after meeting with my family and coaches I have decided that I will be declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft, and throughout this process I will be keeping my eligibility.

“The NBA has been my dream since I started playing basketball as a kid and I’m going to do everything I can to pursue that. If it ends up not being the right time to make the move to the NBA, I’m excited about the potential of what my senior season as a Hawkeye could have in store. Thank you to Hawkeye Nation for this unforgettable journey thus far. Go Hawks!”

Garza had a historic season leading the nationally-ranked men’s basketball team to 20 victories and a likely NCAA Tournament berth. A unanimous consensus first-team All-America selection, Garza became the first Iowa men’s basketball student-athlete to earn National Player of the Year distinction (Sporting News, Basketball Times, ESPN, FOX, Stadium, Bleacher Report). The junior center was also named the Pete Newell Big Man of the Year, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year, USBWA District VI Player of the Year, and Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Year.

“Luka was one of the top players in the country last season and going through the NBA Draft process is something that he should absolutely do,” said Iowa head men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery. “We fully support Luka in the pursuit of his professional goals. This process is extremely valuable in gathering information from NBA personnel. My staff and I look forward to supporting Luka throughout the process.”

Garza finished the 20-game conference schedule averaging 26.2 points per game, becoming the first player to average at least 26 points in Big Ten play since Purdue’s Glenn Robinson in 1994. Garza scored a school-record 740 points this season, breaking the program’s 50-year old record previously set by John Johnson in 1970. Garza became one of three Big Ten players to ever to total 740+ points and 300+ rebounds in a single season. He scored 20 points or more in a school-record 16 straight Big Ten games, the longest streak by any player in the Big Ten since Ohio State’s Dennis Hopson (16) in 1987.

Garza ranked second nationally in 20-point games (25); third in total field goals made (287), fifth in scoring (23.9), 19th in double-doubles (15), and 34th in rebounding (9.8). Garza produced against top competition all season, averaging 26.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 12 contests against AP ranked opponents, including recording 11 straight 20-point performances.