Iowa’s Garza wins Oscar Robertson Trophy

Iowa Hawkeyes’ center Luka Garza (55) controls the ball against the Northern Illinois Huskies during the first half at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. (Photo: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports)

INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – Iowa center Luka Garza, a unanimous All-America selection and the nation’s leader in total points and field goals made, has been named the winner of the 2020-21 Oscar Robertson Trophy as the National Player of the Year in voting by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. The senior from Washington, D.C., was honored in a virtual presentation in conjunction with the men’s Final Four in Indianapolis.

The 6-11, 265-pounder is a two-time First Team USBWA All-American after leading the nation in total points (747), field goals made (281), 30-point games (8) and 20-point games (22). He is fifth nationally in free throw attempts (199), 10th in free throw makes (141) and tied for 11th in double-doubles (13). His 747 points extended the single-season school record he set last season.

Garza earned the Trophy over two other finalists, junior guard Ayo Dosunmu of Illinois and senior forward Corey Kispert of Gonzaga.

Iowa ranked consistently among the top 10 teams in the national polls throughout the 2020-21 season behind Garza, the District VI Player of the Year who repeated as the Big Ten’s Player of the Year, becoming only the third player in conference history to win the award in consecutive seasons. The Hawkeyes closed at 22-9, falling to Oregon 95-80 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament despite 36 points from Garza, who tied a 65-year-old school record for points in an NCAA Tournament game on 14-of-20 shooting from the field with three three-pointers.

Iowa’s career scoring leader and only its second USBWA All-American (Jarrod Uthof in 2015-16), Garza is the school’s first Oscar Robertson Trophy winner and the first from the Big Ten since Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky in the 2014-15 season. He is the eighth player and the ninth overall honoree from the Big Ten. Following a 15-year hiatus between 1995-2009, the Big Ten has now claimed four of the last 12 awards.

Garza was a unanimous All-American as determined by the four major awarding organizations: the USBWA, Associated Press, NABC and The Sporting News.

The Oscar Robertson Trophy is voted on by the entire membership of the association, which consists of more than 900 journalists. It is the nation’s oldest award. “The Big O” won the USBWA’s first two national player of the year awards in 1959 and 1960 and was the consensus national player of the year as a sophomore in 1958, the year before USBWA started giving its player of the year award. The USBWA renamed the award the Oscar Robertson Trophy in 1998.

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