Will Luka Garza Sweep College Player of the Year After Winning Naismith Trophy?

Published 04/03/2021, 1:49 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 have had no success this season, but it has been the opposite for star Luka Garza. The awards are piling for the senior forward, and the latest one is the Naismith Trophy.

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On Thursday, he was named the AP College Player of the Year, and today he won the Naismith Trophy. Named after John Naismith, the inventor of basketball, the Atlanta Tip-Off Club awards the trophy to the best player in college. It has been a dominant season for Garza, and these awards are a testament to it. It was a sensational season for the big man, who stood out despite the lack of success for his team.

💥 NAISMITH TROPHY 💥

The most dominant player in men’s college basketball in 2020-21, is @LukaG_55.

Congrats, Luka, on your historic achievement! #Hawkeyes 🦚💪🏆💯 pic.twitter.com/5lXiIytoDV

— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) April 3, 2021

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After being a finalist for the award last season, this time he has finished as the winner. He beat the likes of Cade Cunningham, Corey Kispert, and Ayo Dosunmu to grab the award.

When he announced his decision to return for his senior year, Garza was already predicted to win these awards. And now he has won two out of the three major awards. So can he add the third to his tally as well?

Iowa Hawkeyes’ Luka Garza favorite to sweep the awards

The AP College Player of the Year award started from the 1960-61 season onwards. A few years in 1968-69, the Naismith Trophy came into existence. Finally, in 1976–77, the Wooden Award was also introduced. Since then, most players have swept all three whenever they tend to win one. Only in rare cases do players win one or two of them and miss out on the third.

In the last twenty years, there have been multiple awardees on just two occasions. In 2002–03, T. J. Ford won the Naismith and Wooden Awards, but David West snapped up the AP Player of the Year. Similarly, in 2015–16, Buddy Hield won both Naismith and Wooden Awards, but Denzel Valentine walked away with the AP Player of the Year.

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Feb 2, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes center Luka Garza (55) reacts as Michigan State Spartans forward Julius Marble II (34) looks on during the first half at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Those were two very rare cases, and it is unlikely to repeat this season. Garza has it on lock after a superb season averaging 24.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. Not only did he excel in the post, but also shot a ridiculous 44% from three on 3.2 attempts per game.

He leaves the university as a legendary player, who will be remembered as arguably the greatest player to don the Iowa jersey.

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DIVE DEEPER

Did Iowa Hawkeyes’ Luka Garza Deserve the AP Player of Year Award?

18 days ago

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Aaron Mathew

1469 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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