‘Hit Me All At Once’- Luka Garza Opens Up On Jersey Retirement and Impact of Coach McCaffery

Published 03/16/2021, 12:00 PM EDT
Mar 12, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes center Luka Garza (55) reacts against the Wisconsin Badgers in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


The Iowa Hawkeyes are on their way to having one of their best seasons in almost two decades, and senior forward Luka Garza is the biggest reason behind this success.

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As the regular season ended. Garza was honored by the Hawkeyes, who retired his jersey. During a recent interview with ESPN, Garza spoke about why it was so emotional for him. He said, “It was surreal. I didn’t expect it. It was Senior Day too, and I was already kind of an emotional mess. So it all hit me at once.”

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He became the ninth player in Hawkeyes history to have his jersey up in the rafters. His #55 jersey will be a reminder to future players of the all-time top scorer of their team and also one of the most dominant players to don the Hawkeyes jersey.

Luka Garza reveals how Coach Fran McCaffery believed him in when no one did

Although Garza is now arguably the best player in the college circuit, this hype was nonexistent when he entered college. In fact, he revealed that a lot of coaches thought he wasn’t athletic enough for the college game. That is why he is grateful to coach Fran McCaffery, who gave him the chance.

“I’ve just been so thankful that Coach McCaffery gave me an opportunity to come to university in Iowa,” he said. “There were a lot of coaches who didn’t really see it in me. They didn’t think I had the foot speed or the athleticism and be able to compete at this level and (Coach McCaffery) saw right through that and gave me a chance.”

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Although Garza hasn’t yet brought any silverware for the team, he has helped the Hawkeyes become a force in the Big Ten conference once again. Before he leaves for the NBA, Garza now has his final chance to lead the Hawkeyes in the NCAA tournament.

They are the #2 seed in the West region. If all goes as expected, they are likely to face the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Regional Final. They have met once before in the season, but the Hawkeyes lost that game. So if this showdown happens once again, Garza and the Hawkeyes will be eager for revenge, and that will be a huge stepping stone towards their title march.

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Mar 12, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes forward Keegan Murray (left), center Luka Garza (middle), and forward Patrick McCaffery (22) celebrate as they walk off the court after defeating the Wisconsin Badgers at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

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Aaron Mathew

1551 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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