Based on regular season play, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Tuesday the five finalists vying for the honor of the 2020 Naismith Trophy, which includes University of Iowa men’s basketball junior center Luka Garza. The prestigious award recognizes the most outstanding men’s college basketball player.
Joining Garza as a finalist for the prestigious award are Dayton’s Obi Toppin, Udoka Azbuike of Kansas, Seton Hall’s Myles Powell, and Oregon’s Payton Pritchard.
Hawkeye fans can vote for Garza from March 20-April 1, by visiting naismithfanvote.com. Fans may also vote on the @NaismithTrophy Twitter page between March 25-April 1. The fan vote will account for five percent of the overall vote.
Last week, Sporting News tabbed Garza its National Player of the Year and a first-team All-American. Garza is the first player in Iowa history to earn national player of the year distinction. He was also voted the USBWA District VI Player of the Year and the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Year.
The Washington, D.C., native is also a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, Wooden Award, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, and the Lute Olson Award.
Garza (740 points and 305 rebounds) is one of three Big Ten players to ever to total 740+ points and 300+ rebounds in a single-season (Purdue’s Glenn Robinson in 1994 and Purdue’s Joe Barry Carroll in 1979). He ranked second nationally with 12 20-point/10-rebound performances, 20-point games (25); third in total field goals made (287) and points per 40 minutes played (29.8), fifth in scoring (23.9), 10th in 30-point games (5), 19th in double-doubles (15) and offensive rebounds per game (3.58), and 34th in rebounding (9.8). His 15 double-doubles are third most in a single-season by a Hawkeye in three decades and the most since 2002 (Reggie Evans, 18). Garza averaged 26.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 12 games against AP ranked opponents in 2019-20, including recording 11 straight 20-point performances.
Garza, who would become the first Hawkeye to ever win the award, 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 (31.1 ppg). Garza scored a school-record 740 points this season, breaking the program’s 50-year old record previously set by John Johnson in 1970. 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 is the only Big Ten player to register seven 25-point/10-rebound performances in the same season in more than 17 years. He has produced the two highest point totals in a game by a Big Ten player this season (44 at Michigan; 38 at Indiana).
The 2020 Naismith Trophy is scheduled to be announced on April 1.
LUKA GARZA HONORS (2019-20)
• Naismith Trophy Finalist
• Sporting News National Player of the Year
• Bleacher Report National Player of the Year
• Seth Davis of The Athletic’s National Player of the Year
• Sporting News First-Team All-America
• CBS Sports First-Team All-America
• NBC Sports First-Team All-America
• USA Today First-Team All-America
• Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Year
• USBWA District VI Player of the Year
• Wooden Award National Ballot
• Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Trophy Semifinalist
• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Finalist
• Lute Olson Award Top 30
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