Can Luka Garza overcome the Picket Award’s prejudices towards tall males? And the way would it not rank?
In Friday’s 105-77 win over rival Iowa State, Iowas finished Luka Garza on 34 points and recorded a 6v7 clip from the 3-point line, adding to the excitement for his international of the year. During one stretch he scored 21 points in a row for the Hawkeyes.
“I think this is just an honor for our boys, my teammates around me,” he told ESPN Radio after the game. “If you decide to move and try to protect me then we have another man who will shoot it and make it. I think our team did a great job moving the ball around, especially during. ” this route, not just to take pictures, but to take pictures of everyone. “
After beating the Cyclones, Garza became the first player in a major conference in the past decade to score an average of 30.4 points per game in his first five competitions, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. After last season’s battle with Obi Toppin, who won the Wooden Award against the Iowa star, Garza already appears to be well ahead of the field thanks to one of the best starts in recent college basketball history.
Tall men were not preferred when talking to the Wooden Award. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Garza has a chance to only become the ninth player who is 6-foot-11 or taller to take home the trophy.
Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon failed to win the award in their best college season. Then and now, Bigs weren’t considered the sexiest players in the game, which doesn’t help their collective cause.
After winning in the US state of Iowa, Luka Garza became the first player in a major conference in the past decade to score an average of 30.4 points per game in his first five competitions. Keith Gillett / Getty Images
Cole Aldrich, an Associated Press All-American third-team in Kansas during the 2009-10 season, said big guys don’t get the same love for national awards because they’re not as flashy as some of the other players on the court.
“I see it like the Heisman Trophy,” he told ESPN. “There are so many good running backs, but so many quarterbacks get the award. There were a lot of really good big guys.”
Chris Mihm, an Associated Press Texas All-American first-team for the 1999-2000 season, said players like Garza were “rare” in a game where great men have advanced in recent years. But Mihm is confident the Iowa star can prove that tall men can still compete with the best.
“I really like the way he plays,” said Mihm, who averaged 17.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game last season with the Longhorns. “I think he’s an incredible talent. I love to see him represented. I hope he wins the award.”
Garza seems to be doing just that in Iowa. He is an excellent player and his game continues to grow. College basketball could see one of the great performances of a player of its size.
“I think there were always doubts about my game just because I’m not the sportiest person there is. That’s why I always try to work hard and play as hard as possible every time I hit the ground,” Garza told ESPN radio.
But Garza has competition. A handful of big boys have also scorched the college basketball landscape with excellence on the way to winning the Wooden Award.
Here is our ranking of the best Wood Award achievements by a player 6’11 or taller (list compiled by ESPN Stats & Info):
1. Danny Manning (6-foot-11, 1987-88): The nickname “Manning and the Miracles” followed the star’s epic run with the sixth Kansas through the 1988 NCAA tournament, a journey that included wins over three top 5 seeds. Manning finished the final with 25 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and four steals against Duke, a 2-seed, in the Final Four and 31 points, 18 rebounds, two blocks and five steals against Oklahoma, a top-seed for the national title win game. He led the field averaging 27.2 PPG throughout the tournament before securing first place on the NBA Draft in 1988. Manning put together one of the most impressive runs in college basketball history that season.
2. David Robinson (7-foot-1, 1986-87): In a breathtaking performance, Robinson averaged 28.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game, the top grade in America this season. He ended his career 30 times with 30 or more points, including a 50-point loss to Michigan in the first round of the NCAA tournament. “He’s the best basketball player I’ve seen in seven years as head basketball coach, and I’ve seen a lot of great players, including Patrick Ewing,” said then Michigan head coach Bill Frieder of Robinson after the game. Robinson finished this season with 29 points and nine rebounds against UNLV No. 1. The Navy opponents averaged a clip of 41.5%, a top five mark.
3. Ralph Sampson (7-foot-3, 1982-83): Sampson reportedly had the flu when he scored 23 points, scored 16 rebounds, and booked seven blocks in a 68-63 win over a top five squad at Georgetown that season. That day, Sampson – the only player to win the Wooden Award twice – surpassed a young Patrick Ewing (16 points, eight rebounds, five blocks). Really, Sampson has outdone every player in the country this season. Averaging 19.0 PPG, 11.7 RPG, and 3.1 BPG, Sampson was unstoppable while making 60% of his shot attempts. Virginia averaged 81.9 PPG, a top 10 mark, with number 1 in the 1983 NBA draft anchoring the program.
4. Christian Laettner (6-foot-11, 1991-92): We all know “The Shot” – Laettner’s whisker against Kentucky in the Elite Eight – as perhaps the defining moment in college basketball in the 1990s. But Laettner’s great 1991/92 season deserves proper recognition. During that campaign, the Duke star led the Blue Devils to their second national title after scoring 58% of his shots within the arc and 56% of his 3-point tries (averaging 2.8 per game). He’s averaged 21.5 PPG and 7.9 RPG that season on a five-player team that averaged double digits – which included six future NBA players. His Blue Devils averaged 88.0 PPG and beat their opponents by more than 15 points per game. They were dominant.
Ralph Sampson won the Wooden Award twice during his college career. Collegiate Images via Getty Images
5. Ralph Sampson (7-foot-3, 1981-82): During his first of two Wooden Award-worthy seasons – both Sampson and Bill Walton won the Naismith Award three times in college – the Virginia star was tough on both ends of the floor. Sampson won the Wooden Award in 1981-82, despite seeing comparable numbers last season. Sampson became the first non-senior to win the honor in 1981-82 after averaging 15.8 PPG, 11.4 RPG, and 3.1 BPG. With Sampson in the suit, Virginia won 30 games, beating their opponents by an average of 13.5 PPG that season.
6. Marcus Camby (6-foot-11, 1995-96): Whenever you tuned in to a UMass game in the 1995/96 season, you would see Camby soar through the air for a big block or run across the floor for a shaking dunk. It was a fun watch, but it was a problem for opposing coaches. That season the averages were 20.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 3.9 BPG. He was also a 70% free throw shooter. In UMass’s 81-74 loss to Kentucky, eventual national champions, in the Final Four, Camby was the best player on the field (25 points, 9v18 shooting, eight rebounds, six blocks, three assists) final chapter of a run that was later vacated due to NCAA violations.
7. Frank Kaminsky (7 feet, 2014-15): After leading Wisconsin to his second consecutive Final Four, Kaminsky secured the final Wooden Award for a player 6 feet 11 or more, according to ESPN Stats & Info. It had an average of 18.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 1.5 BPG. He also made 42% of his 3-point shots, making him an impossible matchup in college basketball. Just ask Kentucky after taking a 71-64 win over the Wildcats in the 2015 Final Four with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks. He also made 58% of his shots within the bow and 78% of his free throw attempts that season. Kaminsky put together one of the most complete seasons we’ve seen in the past decade.
8. Andrew Bogut (7 feet, 2004-05): He was a force for a Utah squad that won 18 straight games and ran into the Sweet 16 before securing first place in the 2005 NBA draft. Bogut had an average of 20.4 PPG, 12.2 RPG, and 1.9 BPG. That season he has scored 25 or more points six times. In a 10-point loss to Rajon Rondos Kentucky team in the Sweet 16 Bogut ended with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Also, Utah made 51.4% of its shots this season – a top 5 mark – and Bogut joined 64% of its shots within the arc in a great season.
Bonus: Tim Duncan is listed at 82 inches (6-foot-10) in the ESPN Stats & Info database, but is listed at 6-foot-11 elsewhere. We felt we should include him.
Tim Duncan (1996-97): A year into the first-team All America season, Duncan won the Wooden Award with an incredibly balanced statistic: 20.8 PPG, 14.7 RPG, 3.3 BPG, and 3.2 assists per game. He also made 63% of his shots within the bow. He led the nation in rebounding, and Wake Forest’s opponents connected only 36.4% of their shots that season, the number 2 in college basketball according to the ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia. Although Wake Forest lost to Stanford in the second round of the NCAA tournament in that campaign, Duncan made history as the first player to end his college career with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 blocks and 200 assists.