Can you imagine a world where a player who put up historic numbers in the history of college basketball? While playing in the best conference in college basketball? Well, Iowa fans got it this year with Luka Garza, unfortunately, if you ask the AP voters, the Wooden Award voters and the Naismith voters, it wasn’t enough to be named player of the year.
I mean are we being serious? Imagine watching an entire year of Luka Garza dominating the best conference in the country. Xavier Tillman, Brody Teske, Daniel Oturu, Matt Haarms, every single one was given buckets by Luka. But two absolute idiots from the AP didn’t even put Luka Garza on their first team All American ballot? Are we being serious?
Luka Garza averaged 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds this year playing one of the toughest schedules in the country. That is something no one else in the country can even close to say, it is really that simple. Not being a unanimous first-team All-American, not winning the Wooden Award, not winning the Naismith POY is to put it lightly, a major disappointment.
But to a certain point, I get it. Dayton was incredible this year and so was Obi Toppin but the fact of the matter is if Luka Garza was being guarded by guys from George Washington night in and night out he is putting up Wilt Chamberlin like numbers. We would be talking about him being maybe the greatest college basketball player in history (okay, maybe a bit exaggerated but Garza would have put up some crazy numbers).
Sure, Obi Toppin did some cool dunks. Sure, Obi Toppin will likely be a top-5 draft pick and go on to likely be more successful in the NBA than Luka. Sure, Obi Toppin was a dominant force in A-10. But, Luka Garza was putting up absurd numbers in the Big Ten.
The argument of “Iowa wasn’t that good” and “they would have been a six-seed” in my opinion holds absolutely zero water for a few reasons.
- Iowa played in the best conference in college basketball.
- Garza played against some of the best post defenders in college basketball and dominated them.
- Iowa dealt with a ton of injuries that would have opened the floor up for Garza even more.
But I have good news. Luka has another year (if he chooses to take it) to prove every single AP voter wrong. To prove all these committees wrong, to prove doubters and haters wrong.
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With Iowa at full strength including Jordan Bohannon to give another shooter to stretch the floor, (even more), Jack Nunge to help shoulder some of the load in the paint, Patrick McCaffery (hopefully) to add a dynamic piece on the offensive and defensive end. It should be no problem for Luka to put together another historic season and come back even stronger if he chooses to do so. In the end, these AP voters’ opinions do not matter.
Anyone who watched Garza dominate the Big Ten night in and night out knows. I know it, and if you’re reading this you know it. And I hope Luka decides to come back and Iowa can go on a special run next year.