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Luka Garza Wins Wooden Award, Becomes Unanimous National Player of the Year

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Luka Garza makes it a clean sweep as he creates history one final time as a Hawkeye.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Oregon at Iowa
Luka Garza etches his place in NCAA history again.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In a season full of individual awards, Luka Garza capped off an historic career with one more piece of hardware to add to the trophy case. Iowa’s superstar center was named the 2021 Wooden Award winner on Tuesday night, making him the first Hawkeye in program history to earn the honors.

It certainly wasn’t shocking news for Garza or Hawkeye fans, buts it’s weight should not be glossed over. Garza becomes just the 27th player in NCAA history to see all six of the major Player of the Year awards, joining the likes of Zion Williamson, Jalen Brunson, Frank Mason III, Frank Kaminsky, Doug McDermott and other greats.

While this is the first time for Garza or any other Hawkeyes to win the Wooden, this is the second straight year the superstar has been recognized as the best player in the nation. While Dayton’s Obi Toppin took home the Wooden and Naismith a season ago, Garza was the Sporting News Player of the Year in 2020, marking the first time since Jason Williams in 2001 and 2002 a player has been named Player of the Year in consecutive seasons.

As a senior for the Hawkeyes, Garza averaged 24.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.7 assists per game while shooting 55.3% from field and 44% from beyond the arc and leading Iowa to a program-leading 14 conference wins and the highest NCAA Tournament seed in program history.

Garza’s illustrious college career comes to an end as he leaves Iowa City the program’s all-time leading scorer and the second-leading rebounder behind only Greg Brunner. He will have his number retired in Carver-Hawkeye Arena for all to see as we remember an all-time great Hawkeye.

Earlier on Tuesday, Garza announced plans for another first as he went live on CNBC to say he would be the first college basketball player to release a non-fungible token (NFT). The one of a kind image of Garza went up for auction on Tuesday evening with the highest bidder not only winning the NFT, but also the opportunity for even more memories, including a game of HORSE with Garza, a dinner/movie night and a lifetime VIP pass to all future basketball camps. On brand with the person Hawkeye fans have come to know over the last four years, a portion of the auction proceed are earmarked for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

Beyond his tremendous basketball exploits and now groundbreaking maneuvers to take advantage of his name, image and likeness, Garza will long be revered for his genuine, humble personality. By all accounts, for as great of a player Luka Garza is, he is an even better human being.

Congratulations to Luka Garza on yet another well-deserved, tremendous honor for a truly tremendous person. You will be sorely missed by Hawkeye nation, but never forgotten.