Garza named to Naismith Trophy Watch List

The Atlanta Tipoff Club added 50 names to the 2021 Naismith Trophy Watch List Thursday morning – one of which was Garza’s.


Iowa center Luka Garza celebrates 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.

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

Iowa basketball’s Luka Garza has been named to the 2021 Naismith Trophy Watch List, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Thursday morning.

Garza was a Naismith Trophy finalist in 2020, narrowly losing to Dayton’s Obi Toppin – who was selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks Wednesday night.

“The beginning of the season is filled with excitement, optimism and anticipation as each team and every player is undefeated, making the race for the Naismith Trophy wide open,” Executive Director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club Eric Oberman said. “While these 50 candidates are those to keep an eye on, there will be plenty of others who will enter the competition throughout the season. This year will be especially exciting as players who were unable to finish their seasons last year have even more to prove.”

Garza has already received a number of preseason accolades in 2020-21. He has been named an AP Unanimous Preseason All-American, a CBS Sports First Team Preseason All-American, a Unanimous All-Big Ten Preseason player, a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Preseason Watch List honoree, and Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year.

Last year, Garza’s just-short Naismith campaign included a number of achievements. Garza was dubbed National Player of the Year by six media outlets – including ESPN. He was also Big Ten Player of the Year and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year. Garza averaged 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in 2019-20.

The Atlanta Tipoff Club will announce a midseason watch list of 30 in February. 10 national semifinalists will be put forth March 4. Four finalists will be named March 16. The Naismith Trophy will be awarded April 4.

Garza and the No. 5 Hawkeyes will open their season Nov. 25 against North Carolina Central at 3 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

No fans will be allowed to attend games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this season, but fan cutouts will be available for purchase.

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