Luka Garza Wins Naismith, Wooden, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Awards

By RossWB on April 7, 2021 at 10:34 am
GO GARZA GO
© Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
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All your Player of the Year Awards are belong to Luka Garza. 

Iowa's all-time leading scorer has continued to add to his tremendous collection of postseason awards over the last few days. The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Best Center of the Year Award was kind of a no-brainer; Garza won it last season and was every bit as good (if not better) this year than last year. Still, becoming a two-time winner is a neat accomplishment. 

And getting a shout-out from an all-time legend like Kareem himself never gets old: 

But the top honors in college basketball are the Naismith Trophy and the Wooden Award, the hoops equivalent to the Heisman Trophy (or the Hodge Trophy in wrestling, which we know a thing about) and the two most prestigious individual awards in college basketball. Garza was shut out of both awards last year in favor of Dayton's Obi Toppin; he was not denied this time. 

Saturday, Garza became the Naismith Trophy winner. 

Garza spoke to CBS Sports Network about what winning the Naismith Trophy meant to him: 

Then, on Tuesday night, Garza was announced as the winner of the Wooden Award: 

Winning the Wooden Award was especially meaningful for Garza, as he discussed: 

Picking up the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy means that Garza effectively sweeps the Player of the Year honors for 2020-21 and makes him the consensus National Player of the Year. He's the first Iowa men's basketball player to ever earn consensus National Player of the Year honors. He also became the first Iowa men's basketball player to win the Naismith Trophy. (Megan Gustafson won the women's version of the Naismith Trophy back in 2019.) And he's the first Iowa player, men's or women's, to win the Wooden Award. 

Whew. 

It's all an exciting -- and fitting -- cap to an incredible career. It's astonishing to consider what Garza was able to do in his four years in Iowa City, and the growth he made from when he arrived at Iowa in the fall of 2017 to the unstoppable force he became over the last two seasons is truly remarkable. Congratulations on receiving all of these richly deserved Player of the Year honors, Luka, and thank you so much for everything that you've done for the Iowa program and the University of Iowa over the past four years. It's been an absolute blast to watch you play basketball. 

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