Iowa’s Luka Garza made history for the Hawkeyes men’s basketball program on Tuesday. The junior big man was named the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week.
That’s the first time in program history that an Iowa player has earned the honor.
Another impressive night against a tough front-court player helped Garza take home that award.
“I mean this league, this year, every team has a tremendous big man,” Garza said. “It’s fun for me to play against those guys.”
It’s a big-man bonanza in the Big Ten this winter and Garza is leading the bunch.
“That’s why you sign up for the Big Ten,” Garza said. “You wanna play the battle in the paint, especially as a big man. You wanna go at those guys and you want them to go at you. You want it to be a battle.”
Garza followed up his 44-point game against Jon Teske and Michigan with a 21-point, 10-rebound effort against Minnesota’s Daniel Oturu on Monday.
Different challenges, but still high productivity from Garza.
“The truth of the matter is, there’s not a defense that any team could possibly employ that he hasn’t already seen in his lifetime,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said.
Garza’s adjustments helped the Hawks pull away after halftime. McCaffery says how teams play the junior is going to change each and every night.
“Early on they were physical and they were coming at him,” McCaffery said. “Unlike the other night where they were physical and playing behind, so he had to adjust as the game went on. He’s going to have to do that as well as adjust game to game.”
“Handling the doubles, passing out of it, I was just trying to get everyone involved in the beginning,” Garza said. “They can’t really keep that kind of pressure up on me the entire game. I knew I just had to read and react.”
Garza has already been a marked man all season long, which makes his five double-doubles even more impressive. He finished with just one double-double throughout all of last year.
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