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Iowa's Garza named Big Ten male athlete of the year
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Iowa's Garza named Big Ten male athlete of the year

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B10 Iowa Illinois Basketball

Iowa center Luka Garza (55) drives on Illinois' Kofi Cockburn during a game last season. Garza was named Wednesday as the Big Ten's male athlete of the year.

Luka Garza added one last piece of hardware Wednesday to top off his stellar college basketball career.

The former University of Iowa center was named the Big Ten’s Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year for the 2020-21 school year.

Garza is the first Hawkeye men’s basketball player to earn the honor, which was named for Owens in 1992. He is the first Iowa athlete in 13 years and one of only five ever to win the award.

The only previous Hawkeyes to win the award are wrestlers Brent Metcalf (2008), Barry Davis (1985) and Ed Banach (1983) and football player Chuck Long (1986).

Garza also is the first basketball player to win since Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine in 2016.

The award is chosen by a panel of media members from nominations submitted by each Big Ten school.

Garza won every major national player of the year award, including the Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy, last season as well as being named the Big Ten’s player of the year and a consensus All-American for the second consecutive year.

The 6-foot-11 center led the nation in total points (747) and broke Iowa’s school records for scoring in a season and a career. He is the only men’s basketball player in Big Ten history to collect more than 2,250 points and 900 rebounds.

Garza completed his eligibility with a 36-point effort in his final game, against Oregon in the second round of the NCAA tournament. He currently is training in preparation for next week's NBA draft.


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