Garza, Clark named to Wooden Award Midseason Top-25 list

Hawkeyes basketball

Iowa center Luka Garza drives to the basket ahead of Northern Illinois forward Chinedu Okanu, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

University of Iowa senior All-American Luka Garza and freshman Caitlin Clark both join the John R. Wooden Award Mid-Season Top 25. The announcement was made Wednesday evening by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
Chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts based on their performances during the first half of the 2020-21 season, the list comprises of the 25 student-athletes in men’s basketball and 25 student-athletes in women’s basketball who are front-runners for one of the sport’s most prestigious honor.

Garza (6-foot-11, 265 pounds) has been named to every major preseason All-American team and national player of the year award. Garza has ascended to second on Iowa’s all-time scoring chart, trailing only Roy Marble. Garza, who was a Wooden Award All-American a year ago, leads the all Division I players with a 46.82 Player Efficiency Rating (PER). He also is first in the country in points per game (27.5), 30-point games (5), and field goals made (111). Garza ranks third in the NCAA in free throws made (61) and free throw attempts (83), and tied for sixth in double-doubles (5).

Garza’s 34 points against Iowa State (Dec. 11) are the most points scored by a Hawkeye in the Cy-Hawk Series. He scored 21 straight points, spanning 5:15 in the second half against the Cyclones, including four consecutive 3-pointers on four straight possessions. Garza registered 30 points on 13-of-18 shooting from the field against top-ranked Gonzaga (Dec. 19). He recorded 32 points and season-high 17 rebounds against Minnesota (Dec. 25) for his fifth double-double of the season and 25th of his career, which ranks seventh-most in Hawkeye history. Garza’s 41 points against Southern University (Nov. 27) are the most points scored by a Hawkeye in a single-game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and his 36 first-half points (12-12 FG, 10-12 FT) are believed to be the most points scored by a Hawkeye in a half in program history. His efficient performance (14-15 FG; .933) against Southern was the best single-game field goal percentage by a Big Ten player since 1984.

Clark is the first Hawkeye to be named to the John R. Wooden Award Watch List since Megan Gustafson in 2019. Gustafson went on to be named a John R. Wooden Award All-American and was one of three finalists for the Most Outstanding Player Award.

Clark ranks in the top-15 nationally in nine categories. She is one of five student-athletes across the country to register a triple-double this season and ranks fourth in the nation in total points (211) and points per game (26.4), ranks seventh in assists (52) and assists per game (6.5), ranks ninth in field goal attempts (154) and field goals made (70), ranks 12th in 3-pointers attempted (69), and ranks 15th in free-throws made (46).

The West Des Moines, Iowa, native has been named to the NCAA Staring five, twice, ESPN National Player of the Week, Big Ten Player of the Week, three times, and Big Ten Freshman of the week, five times.

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