One of the biggest questions for Iowa basketball next year (and beyond): how do you replace Luka Garza? There isn't a good answer to that, partly because you don't just replace the two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and Iowa's all-time leading scorer and partly because the only bigs Iowa is set to return next year are Jack Nunge (currently recovering from a second straight season-ending knee injury) and Josh Ogundele (still very raw). But now we have another part of that answer, albeit not right away.
Riley Mulvey is Iowa's first Class of 2022 commitment, a 6'11" big man out of St. Thomas More prep school in Connecticut. Mulvey, a consensus 3* recruit, chose Iowa over offers from several east coast colleges, including Penn State, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Penn, and Yale.
What swayed Mulvey to the midwest? You probably won't be surprised that his decision was influenced by the last 3* center Iowa pulled out of the east coast, as he explained to Hawkeye Report:
“[Garza's] play and the way they use him was 100% a huge selling point for me. I feel like if I go to Iowa and learn under Coach McCaffery that I can continue to improve and hopefully someday get close to Luka’s level,” Mulvey said.
Mulvey said he did talk with Garza on a Zoom call at one point and that it was pretty cool to talk to the best player in the country.
Ding ding ding. Mulvey likely won't be the last recruit who chooses Iowa as a result of Garza's incredible play over the last few seasons. Garza leaves behind some very very very big shoes, but it will be exciting to see players like Mulvey try to fill that void.
As a class of 2022 recruit, Mulvey won't be able to help Iowa immediately next season. He's only a junior this year, so he won't be at Iowa until the 2022-23 season. There are still question marks for how Iowa will try to fill its Garza-shaped hole next year, but beyond that the answer should include Mulvey to some extent. Welcome to Iowa City, Riley.