Garza named Big Ten Player of the Year for men's basketball

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - A University of Iowa athlete has been recognized as the most outstanding in the conference in his sport, according to the school.

Iowa center Luka Garza celebrates after making a three-point basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Luka Garza, starting center for the Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball team, was named the Big Ten Conference Player of the Year by both the league's coaches and members of the media. He is the first player from the school to receive the award for men's basketball in 52 years.

"I want to thank my teammates and coaches," Garza said, in a statement posted to the team's Twitter account. "To be honest, if I wasn’t in this program, I don’t think any of this would be possible."

The coaches and media also named Garza to the conference's first-team All-Big Ten squad on Monday.

Garza has averaged 23.9 points on 54.2% shooting over 31 games in the 2019-2020 season. He also averages 9.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, and 1.2 assists in 32 minutes per game.

Garza recorded 15 double-doubles in points and rebounds through the season. He has tied the school record for most games in a row above 20 points with Freddie Brown, having done so in the team's last 16 games.