Iowa Men's Basketball

Iowa's Luka Garza to test NBA Draft process

All-America center not hiring an agent, may still return for senior season

Iowa center Luka Garza (55) hangs onto the ball as he collides with Rutgers guard Caleb McConnell during the Hawkeyes' w
Iowa center Luka Garza (55) hangs onto the ball as he collides with Rutgers guard Caleb McConnell during the Hawkeyes’ win over the Scarlet Knights at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 22. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

University of Iowa junior Luka Garza announced Friday that he will test the 2020 NBA Draft process while maintaining his NCAA eligibility.

The 6-foot-11 center plans to go through the process without an agent. It’s the same thing former Iowa players Peter Jok, Tyler Cook and Isaiah Moss, and current Hawkeye Joe Wieskamp did in recent years before returning to their college team.

“This year was one I could never have imagined,” Garza said via a UI news release. “None of the awards or accolades could have happened without the University of Iowa, my coaches, and my teammates. Choosing Coach (Fran) McCaffery and Iowa was the best decision I have ever made. With that said, after meeting with my family and coaches I have decided that I will be declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft, and throughout this process I will be keeping my eligibility.

“The NBA has been my dream since I started playing basketball as a kid and I’m going to do everything I can to pursue that. If it ends up not being the right time to make the move to the NBA, I’m excited about the potential of what my senior season as a Hawkeye could have in store. Thank you to Hawkeye Nation for this unforgettable journey thus far. Go Hawks!”

Garza averaged 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds in the 2019-20 season and was a unanimous first-team All-America selection, He became the first Iowa men’s basketball student-athlete to earn National Player of the Year distinction (Sporting News, Basketball Times, ESPN, FOX, Stadium, Bleacher Report). The junior center was also named the Pete Newell Big Man of the Year, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year, USBWA District VI Player of the Year, and Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Year.

“Luka was one of the top players in the country last season and going through the NBA Draft process is something that he should absolutely do,” said Iowa head men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery. “We fully support Luka in the pursuit of his professional goals. This process is extremely valuable in gathering information from NBA personnel. My staff and I look forward to supporting Luka throughout the process.”

Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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