University of Iowa men’s basketball All-American Luka Garza has been named the 2020-21 Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year. The announcement was made on Monday by the Big Ten Conference.
Additionally, Garza and Joe Wieskamp were named to the 10-player Preseason All-Big Ten Team, with Garza being a unanimous selection. Iowa and Illinois were the only teams to have multiple players recognized on the list.
Garza was a dominant force in 2019-20, earning National Player of the Year (six national media outlets) and Big Ten Player of the Year distinction, along with earning consensus first-team All-America laurels and earning the Kareem Abdul Jabbar Award for the nation’s top center. Garza (740 points and 305 rebounds) was one of three Big Ten players to ever to total 740+ points and 300+ rebounds in a single season. He ranked second nationally with 12 20-point/10-rebound performances and 20-point games (25); fifth in scoring (23.9); 10th in 30-point games (5); 19th in double-doubles (15) and offensive rebounds per game (3.58), and 34th in rebounding (9.8). His 15 double-doubles are third most in a single-season by a Hawkeye in three decades. Garza averaged 26.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 12 games against AP ranked opponents in 2019-20, including recording 11 straight 20-point performances.
The native of Washington, D.C., finished the 20-game league schedule averaging 26.2 points per game, becoming the first player to average at least 26 points in Big Ten play since Purdue’s Glenn Robinson in 1994 (31.1 ppg). Garza scored a school-record 740 points in 2019-20, breaking the program’s 50-year old record. He scored 20 points or more in a school-record 16 straight Big Ten games, the longest streak by any player in the Big Ten since Ohio State’s Dennis Hopson 16 in 1987.
Wieskamp was a third-team All-Big Ten, USBWA All-District honoree, and a semifinalist for the Jerry West Award as a sophomore in 2019-20. He ranked second on the team in points per game (14.0) and rebounds (6.1), and tied for 13th in the Big Ten in 3-pointers made per contest (1.7). The native of Muscatine, Iowa, ranked first in the Big Ten in free throw accuracy (.856) and made his last 22 straight free throw attempts dating back to Feb. 13, 2020. Wieskamp posted three double-doubles, led the team in steals 10 times, and scored 15 points or more 13 times this past season.
2020-21 BIG TEN PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Luka Garza, Iowa
2020-21 MEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN TEAM
Kofi Cockburn, Illinois
AYO DOSUNMU, Illinois
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
LUKA GARZA, Iowa
Joe Wieskamp, Iowa
Aaron Henry, Michigan State
Marcus Carr, Minnesota
Trevion Williams, Purdue
Geo Baker, Rutgers
Nate Reuvers, Wisconsin
Unanimous selections in ALL CAPS