In case you hadn’t heard, the Iowa Hawkeyes are going to be good this season. Luka Garza was the nation’s best player a season ago and heading into 2020-2021 he’s a virtual lock to win a slew of national awards. That run starts in just over two weeks and while we don’t have anything finalized on the Iowa basketball schedule front, today we got some additional information from the Big Ten conference on expectations for the season.
In perhaps the least surprising news of the year, Luka Garza is expected to be the best player in the conference (again) and has been named the Preseason Player of the Year.
Garza is returning for his senior season after what was likely the greatest single season we’ve witnessed in Iowa basketball history. The DC native finished with 740 points and 305 rebounds, making him one of only 3 players to ever top 700 points and 300 rebounds in the same season in Big Ten history and setting a new school record for points in a single season. He averaged 26.7 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks against ranked opponents last season and averaged 26.2 ppg in Big Ten play, making him the first player to average at least 26 ppg in league play since Glenn Robinson in 1994.
Garza finished the year with 12 games of 20 points, 10 rebounds (2nd nationally), 25 games with 20+ points (2nd) while averaging 23.9 ppg (5th) on five 30-point+ games (10th) and was 19th nationally in double-doubles (15), the third most in Iowa basketball history..
Garza is the center and centerpiece for the Hawkeyes, but he isn’t alone in the preseason honors. Along with Garza, junior Joe Wieskamp was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten team.
Illinois junior guard Ayo Dosunmu and Iowa senior center Luka Garza have been named unanimous selections on the 2020-21 #B1GMBBall Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Eight conference programs are represented on the 10-member team: https://t.co/dm9tYt51M6 pic.twitter.com/ArFf4eOxcH— Big Ten Men's Hoops (@B1GMBBall) November 9, 2020
As you can see, Iowa and Illinois are the only teams with two members to the All-Big Ten Team. The rivals are also the only two programs with a unanimous selection with Ayo Dosunmu joining Garza in that regard.
Wieskamp finished the 2019-2020 campaign as a 3rd Team All-Big Ten selection and was a semifinalist for the Jerry West Award. He ranked second on the team behind Garza in ppg at 14 and rebounds at 6.1. Wieskamp led the Big Ten in free throw accuracy (.856) as a sophomore and was a critical piece in Iowa’s surge down the stretch a season ago. He totaled three double-doubles, led the team in steals 10 times, and scored 15 points or more 13 times last year.
Iowa is set to open the season on November 25th, but we’ll have to continue waiting for details on the schedule, including their season opening opponent.
Congratulations to Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp!