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Iowa’s Luka Garza declares for NBA draft, keeps eligibility
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Garza spins baseline to score (0:27)

Iowa’s Luka Garza gets the ball in the post and spins around an Illinois defender to create space and get the easy bucket down low. (0:27)

Iowa junior Luka Garza, a first-team All-American who finished second in voting for the John R. Wooden Award this season, has declared for the NBA draft while maintaining his eligibility, he said Friday.

“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,” Garza said on Twitter. “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.”

Luka Garza to declare for NBA Draft while maintaining eligibility: https://t.co/GZKmD1W6cU | #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/Wu5vSi8W8M

— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) April 10, 2020

The 6-foot-11 Garza was averaging 23.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game when the NCAA canceled its postseason tournament.

He was named the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year in the year-end positional awards from the Basketball Hall of Fame and was the runner-up to Dayton‘s Obi Toppin for the Wooden Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding player.

Garza is ranked No. 81 in the ESPN Top 100 for the NBA draft, and he was No. 1 among potential returning players for the 2020-21 season by ESPN.

Garza combined volume with efficiency and was the only major-conference player in the nation to average at least eight made 2-pointers per contest. When the season ended abruptly due to the coronavirus pandemic, Garza had a streak of 16 straight games with 20 or more points — the third-longest such streak among major conference players in the past 20 seasons and the most in Big Ten history.

He also averaged nearly 27 points per game against AP Top 25 teams and is the first Big Ten player to average more than 21.6 points in league play since 2000.

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