Luka Garza Becomes Iowa's All-Time Leading Scorer

By RossWB on February 21, 2021 at 6:07 pm
© Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Make room in the record books. One of Iowa men's basketball's most hallowed records has fallen. There's a new all-time leading scorer for the Iowa Hawkeyes, replacing Roy Marble atop that list. 

Garza entered Sunday's game against Penn State 13 points shy of Marble's position atop the Iowa scoring charts. 

Here's the bucket that put Garza atop the record books: 

We knew when Garza announced his decision to return to Iowa for his senior season last summer that there was a very good chance that he would break Marble's scoring record. He entered the season with 1559 points through three seasons, 557 points shy of Marble's Iowa-record 2116 points. Assuming a season of at least 30 games, Garza would need to average 18.6 points per game to catch Marble. That's a pretty big number... though not necessarily for Garza, who of course averaged 23.9 ppg last year during his dominant junior season. 

Could Garza pick up where he left off in 2019-20? In a word... yes. Garza has, improbably, been even better this season than last year, averaging 24.7 ppg through 22 games, mainly by improving his averages on all shots (his overall FG% is up over two percent, from 54.2% to 56.3%; his 3FG% is up over nine percent, from 35.8% to 45.1%; and his FT% has improved over five percent from a year ago, from 65.1% to 70.6%).

That's the beauty of the Peacock: there are no real weaknesses to his offensive game. He has an almost unlimited array of moves in the low post that he can use to score around the basket. But his range has improved with each season, and he's every bit as comfortable taking an elbow jumper -- or unleashing a three-pointer from deep -- as he is shooting around the basket. Given his sheer size and usage rate, it's inevitable that a player like Garza would draw a lot of fouls -- but Garza has been able to take advantage of that and convert his trips at the free throw line into points at a very good clip.

 The bucket that gave Garza the record didn't require any exceptional skill from Garza. He didn't have to dip into his bag of tricks to call forth a low-post move from one of the tapes that he watched and studied obsessively in his youth. He didn't have to show off the hard work -- the countless hours and thousands of shots -- he's put into his jump shot. He just had to cut to the rim, catch a lofted entry pass from Jordan Bohannon (who is himself just a few assists away from becoming Iowa's all-time leader in assists), and drop in an easy lay-up. Just a simple, reliable two points. But that's fine. Garza's brilliant Iowa career has been marked both by his ability to make difficult shots and his remarkable consistency at making the easy looks. 

So a huge and hearty congratulations to Luka Garza, the new all-time leading scorer for Iowa men's basketball. That was not a record we expected to fall when he arrived in Iowa City four years ago, but his hard work and unyielding drive to improve have been incredible to witness over the last few years. He's absolutely earned this record. 

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