IOWA CITY, Iowa — One day after University of Iowa junior Luka Garza was named Big Ten Player of the Week, the center made history by becoming the first Hawkeye in program history to earn the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week accolade for his efforts in two games last week. The national honor is voted upon by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).
Garza (6-foot-11, 260 pounds) averaged 33.5 points, shooting 55 percent from the field and 78 percent from the free throw line, and 8.5 rebounds in road games last week at Syracuse and No. 4 Michigan.
Garza scored a career-high 44 points last Friday in Ann Arbor — the most points scored in a game by an Iowa big man, third most in program history, most by an opposing player in Crisler Center history behind only Rudy Tomjanovich’s 48 points versus Indiana in 1969, and the most points scored by a Hawkeye since guard John Johnson poured in a school-record 49 points against Northwestern in 1970. Garza reached 1,000 career points in Friday’s game.
Garza’s 44 points are believed to be the most in a game by a Big Ten player since Purdue’s Glenn Robinson scored 44 against Kansas on March 24, 1994. Garza made 17 field goals versus Michigan, tying Bruce King (vs. Michigan on Jan. 31, 1976) for third most in a game in Iowa history. His 32 attempts tie three others (Fred Brown, Murray Wier and Charles Darling) for fourth most in a game in Iowa history.
Last Tuesday, Garza led Iowa to a Big Ten/ACC Challenge victory at Syracuse (68-54). The native of Washington, D.C., posted game bests in scoring (23) and rebounding (9).
Since the 1958-59 season, the USBWA has named a National Player of the Year. In 1998, the award was named in honor of the University of Cincinnati Hall of Famer and two-time USBWA Player of the Year Oscar Robertson. It is the nation’s oldest award and the only one named after a former player.
Garza and the Hawkeyes (7-3, 1-1) next play at in-state rival Iowa State (6-3, 0-0) on Thursday in an Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series contest. Tipoff is set for 7:01 p.m. (CT) at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.