Luka Garza’s Sunday announcement time scheduled

The Big Ten Player of the Year will announce if he is returning for his senior season at 12:15 p.m. Sunday.


Nichole Harris

Iowa center Luka Garza celebrates after crossing the 20-point threshold for his fourteenth straight game during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Penn State on Saturday, Feb. 29 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions 77-68.

Robert Read, Sports Editor

Hawkeye fans can clear their Sunday afternoon schedules.

According to a release from the Iowa athletics department, Luka Garza will announce on a video conference at 12:15 p.m. Sunday if he is returning to the Hawkeyes for his senior season.

Fans can watch the announcement and media Q&A via a live stream on the Hawkeye Sports YouTube page.

Garza, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year who was also named the 2020 National College Basketball Player of the Year by six news outlets, declared for the 2020 NBA Draft on April 10, but has kept his eligibility throughout the draft process. The NCAA’s deadline for players to withdraw their names from the draft is Monday.

RELATED: Luka Garza facing NBA decision with much still unknown

The 6-foot-11 center from Washington, D.C. averaged 23.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game for the Hawkeyes as a junior. Garza was named Iowa’s third consensus All-American in program history, joining Murray Wier (1948) and Charles Darling (1952).

Garza set Iowa’s single-season record with 740 points.

On a Facebook Live session last month, Garza said he chose Sunday as the day to make his decision to maximize his time.

“See if there’s any more announcements about anything that’s going to happen,” Garza said July 23 during a Facebook Live session on Iowa’s page. “I have another interview set up, so I want to be able to do that. And then talk to my family and coaches, the people close to me, to make the best decision possible.”

Garza received an invite to attend the 2020 NBA Combine, which has yet to be rescheduled after it was postponed in May due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are still questions surrounding how the 2020-21 men’s basketball season will look due to the pandemic.

When he announced his decision to enter his name into the draft, Garza said it was going to take a “real opportunity” for him to leave Iowa.

“I’m not going to go in without 100 percent confidence of being able to make a roster,” Garza said April 10. “I don’t see any interest in ending up in the G-League without any type of deal or anything like that. I think that’s something I can be able to get after my senior year. I want to hear where a team takes me and where they see me. It really only takes one team.”

The Hawkeyes won 20 games last season and were set up to go to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament before it and the remainder of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If Garza does return for his senior season, Iowa will be a preseason favorite to win it all.

Joe Wieskamp, Connor McCaffery, Jordan Bohannon, CJ Fredrick, Joe Toussaint, and Jack Nunge all saw time in the starting lineup last season and will be back for the 2020-21 season.

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery has said that next season’s team could be the deepest he’s ever had if Luka comes back. But in the end, McCaffery said, he’ll be supporting Garza no matter the verdict he comes to.

“I want what’s best for Luka,” McCaffery said on the College Hoops Today with Jon Rothstein podcast. “That’s the way it has to be. I can’t weigh that with anything that would be considered selfish. Luka knows if he comes back, we’re going to be a better team than if he doesn’t come back. Our chances to advance and do some special things are right there if he chooses to come back… He knows he has my full support in that pursuit.”

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