Luka Garza receives ESPY nomination for Best Male College Athlete

Luka Garza is nominated alongside the Heisman trophy winner, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, and the MAC Herman trophy winner for best male player in Division I soccer.

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Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa forward Luka Garza drives forward during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Rutgers at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 79-66.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter


After a season that saw him as the best men’s basketball player in the nation, former Hawkeye star Luka Garza is among the nominees for Best Male College Athlete at the ESPYs.

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and Oregon State soccer player Gloire Amanda are also up for the award.

The 2021 ESPYs will be broadcast from The Rooftop at Pier 17 in New York City on Saturday at 7 p.m. on ABC.

“What an honor to be nominated with those amazing student athletes,” Garza said in a tweet on June 17.

The Hawkeye center became the first consensus 2020-21 National Player of the Year in program history, taking home the Associated Press, Lute Olsen, NABC, Naismith, Oscar Robertson, Sporting News, and Wooden awards.

Garza averaged 24.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game in his senior season in 2020-21. The Washington, D.C., native led the nation in scoring and received first-team All-Big Ten and All-American honors for the second time in his career.

After starting every game at center for the Hawkeyes, Garza led the team to a 22-9 season and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Hawkeyes finished third in the Big Ten regular season. At the 2021 Big Ten Tournament, Iowa advanced to the semifinals before losing to Illinois.

Following the conference tournament, Iowa lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Oregon. Garza scored 36 points, shot 70 percent from the field, and grabbed nine rebounds in his final game as a Hawkeye.

RELATED: Hawkeyes Garza, Wieskamp participate in 2021 NBA Draft Combine

In the first-round win over Grand Canyon University, Garza went 9-of-16 from the field — 4-of-5 from behind the arc — scored 24 points and brought down six boards.

“#Hawkeyes, thank you for your help in voting for Luka as the ESPY’s Best College Athlete Men’s Sports,” Frank Garza, Luka’s father, said in a tweet on June 30.

Garza’s fellow nominee, DeVonta Smith, won the 2020 Heisman trophy after leading the nation with 1,865 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns.

In the first round of the College Football Playoff, Smith hauled in seven passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns against No. 4 Notre Dame.

In the 2021 CFP National Championship on Jan. 11, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound wideout broke the record for receptions in a national championship game by halftime, with 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns.

Smith was six yards away from the record for receiving yards in a national championship game by the third quarter, but he was sidelined with a dislocated finger before he could tack on any more yards. Alabama took down Ohio State, 52-24.

Lawrence finished second in Heisman voting and was selected No. 1 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2021 NFL Draft.

In 10 games in the 2020-21 season, the Clemson quarterback completed 231 passes on 334 attempts for 3,153 yards and 24 touchdowns. Lawrence also ran for 203 yards and averaged just under three yards per attempt.

Though Clemson lost to No. 3 Ohio State in their CFP matchup, Lawrence completed 33 passes on 48 attempts and threw for 400 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in his final game as a Tiger.

Oregon State’s Gloire Amanda was born in a refugee camp in Tanzania after his parents had fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to a civil war in 1996. His family moved to Canada when Amanda was 10 years old.

As a junior, Amanda led the nation in goals and total points in 2020-21 and was awarded the MAC Hermann Trophy as the best male soccer player in the country.

He scored 15 goals in 14 games, tallied 37 total points, and his seven assists were the eighth-most in Division I men’s soccer. Amanda led Oregon State to a 9-5 season and an NCAA tournament berth.

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