Luca Garza scored 34 points and beat six of the seven of the three-point line in Friday’s 105-77 winning over his rival Iowa State, adding to the hopes of the national player of the year. He scored 21 points for the Hawks in a single game.
I think it’s an honor for our boys, my teammates around me, he told ESPN radio after the game. If you decide to intervene and try to protect me, we have another man who can shoot and do it. I think our team moved the ball very well, especially in that phase, not only to be able to throw the ball around, but also to have everyone throw it.
After winning the Cyclones, Garza became the first major conference player in a decade to average 30.4 points per game in his first five games, according to an ESPN Stats & Information study. After last year’s game with Obi Topping for the Wooden Award against the Iowa star, Garza already seems to have a significant lead on the field thanks to one of the best starts in recent college basketball history.
Speaking of the wooden reward, the big men weren’t enthusiastic. According to statistics and ESPN, Garza has a chance to become the eighth player of 1.80m or more to win the trophy.
Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon did not win the prize in their best university seasons. Then, as now, the greats are not considered the most interesting players in the game, which does not help their case in general.
Fault! The file name is not specified. After his victory in Iowa, Luca Garza became the first major conference player in ten years with an average of 30.4 points per game in his first five games. Keith Gillett/Getty Images
Cole Aldrich, who was the third team of the Associated Press All-American in Kansas during the 2009-10 season, said the big boys don’t have the same love for national awards because they’re not as flashy as some of the other players on the field.
I consider it a Heisman trophy, he told ESPN. So many good running backs, but so many quarterbacks are rewarded. There were a lot of good big boys.
Chris Mihm, who was a first team member of the Associated Press All-American in Texas during the 1999-2000 season, said players like Garza are rare in a game that has seen an evolution of great men in recent years. But Mihm hopes that the Iowa star can prove that the real Big Men can still compete with the best.
I like the way he plays, said Mihm, who averaged 17.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in his last season with the Longhorns. I think he’s incredibly talented. I like it when he’s introduced. I hope he wins the prize.
Looks like that’s exactly what Garza’s gonna do in Iowa. He’s a great player and his game keeps evolving. Varsity basketball is perhaps one of the greatest achievements of a player of his size.
I think my game has always been challenged just because I’m not the most athletic person, so I always try to work hard and play as hard as I can every time I hit the ground, Garza told ESPN.
But Garza has competition. A handful of big boys also turned the varsity basketball landscape upside down with dazzling performances on their way to winning the Wooden Award.
Here is our ranking of the best Wooden Award-winning performances of a player of 1.80m or more (list compiled by ESPN Stats & Info) :
1. Danny Manning (6’3, 1987-88) : Manning’s nickname and miracle followed the star’s epic series with sixth-seeded Kansas at the 1988 NCAA tournament, a series that saw victories over three of the top five seeds. Manning scored 25 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks and 4 steals against No. 2 seed Duke in the last four and 31 points, 18 rebounds, 2 blocks and 5 steals against No. 1 seed Oklahoma to win the national title game. He led the entire field and averaged 27.2 PPGs throughout the tournament before taking first place in the 1988 NBA draft. This season, Manning ran one of the most impressive runs in the history of varsity basketball.
2. David Robinson (1.80 m, 1986-87) : During this process, Robinson averaged 28.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game, the best result of the season in America. He ended the season with 30 points and more than 30 in his career, including 50 points in a first-round NCAA tournament loss to Michigan. He’s the best basketball player I’ve seen in seven years as a basketball coach, and I’ve seen a lot of great players, including Patrick Ewing, Michigan coach at the time, Bill Frieder, who talked about Robinson after that game. Robinson also finished with 29 points and nine rebounds in the loss of UNLV’s No. 1 this season. The opponents of the Navy have an average of 41.5%, which is a top 5.
3. Ralph Sampson (6’3, 1982-83) : Sampson would have had the flu by scoring 23 points, capturing 16 rebounds and taking seven blocks in a 68-63 win over fifth place Georgetown this season. Sampson – the only player to win the Wooden Award twice in one day – defeated junior Patrick Ewing (16 points, eight rebounds, five blocks). In fact, Sampson has played against every player in the country this season. With an average of 19.0 PPGs, 11.7 RPGs and 3.1 PSUs while achieving 60% of his shooting attempts, Sampson was unstoppable. Virginia also scored 81.9 PPG, a top 10 score, with a possible first choice in the 1983 NBA draft.
4. Christian Laettner (1.83 m, 1991-92) : We all know that that shot – Lattner’s miraculous victory over Kentucky in the elite eight – may have been a defining moment in college basketball in the nineties. But Lettner’s excellent 1991-92 season deserves recognition. This season, the Duke led the Blue Devils to their second national title, hitting 58% of his shots from inside the bow and 56% of his attempts to 3 points (an average of 2.8 per game). He also took an average of 21.5 PPGs and 7.9 RPGs on a team that this season had five players with a double-digit average and six future NBA players. His Blue Devils have averaged 88.0 PPGs and have led their opponents by more than 15 points per game. They were dominant.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Ralph Sampson has won the Wooden Award twice in his academic career. Collegiate Images through Getty Images.
5. Ralph Sampson (6’3, 1981-82) : In the first of the two seasons that won the Wooden Award – Sampson and Bill Walton both won the Naismith Award three times during their university careers – Virginia’s star was strong on both sides of the court. Sampson won the Wooden Award in 1981-82, although he had a similar record last season. Sampson was the first stranger to win the prize in 1981-82 after winning an average of 15.8 PPGs, 11.4 RPGs and 3.1 PSUs. With Sampson in her sights, Virginia has won 30 games this season and defeated their opponents with an average of 13.5 PPG.
6. Marcus Camby (6’3, 1995-96) : Every time you turned on a UMAS game during the 1995-96 season, you saw Camby flying through the air behind a large block or walking on the ground and shaking the edge. He was fun to watch, but he was a problem for the other coaches. He had an average of 20.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 3.9 PSU this season. He was also a 70% freebooter. In UMass’ 81-74 loss to eventual Kentucky national champion in the Final Four, Camby was the best player on the field (25 points, 9 for 18 shots, eight rebounds, six blocks, three assists), the final chapter of a series that was later canceled due to NCAA violations.
7. Frank Kaminsky (7 feet, 2014-15): After his second consecutive Final Four in Wisconsin, Kaminsky was awarded the Final Wood Award for a player six feet tall or higher, according to ESPN statistics and information. The average was 18.8 BCPs, 8.2 GIPs and 1.5 PSUs. He also hit 42% of his 3 points, making him an unbeatable opponent in varsity basketball. Ask Kentucky after scoring 20 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in a 71-64 victory over the Wildcats in the 2015 Final Four. He also shot 58% of his shots from outside the bow and 78% of his free throw attempts this season. Kaminsky put together one of the most complete seasons we’ve seen in university in the last ten years.
8. Andrew Bogut (7 feet, 2004-05) : He was an important member of the Utah team that won 18 games and qualified for the Sweet 16 before being selected first in the 2005 NBA design. Bogout came in with an average of 20.4 BCP, 12.2 RPG and 1.9 PSU. He’s scored 25 or more points six times this season. Bogut finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds in a 10-point loss to Rajan Rondo of Kentucky in the Sweet 16. In addition, Utah has fired 51.4 percent of his shots this season – a top-five brand – and Bogut has fired 64 percent of his shots in the bow in a fantastic season.
Bonus: Tim Duncan is listed as 82 inches (6’1) in the ESPN Stats & Info database, elsewhere he is listed as 6’1. We thought it should be recorded.
Tim Duncan (1996-97) : A year after his first season with the All-American team, Duncan won the Wooden Award with an incredibly balanced stats series: 20.8 PPG, 14.7 RPG, 3.3 PSU and 3.2 passes per game. He also hit 63% of his shots in the bow. He led the nation in rebounding, and Wake Forest opponents have only 36.4 percent of their shots this season, the second highest score in college basketball, according to ESPN’s Encyclopedia of University Basketball. Although Wake Forest lost to Stanford in the second round of the NCAA tournament, Duncan made history by being the first player to end his university career with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 blocks and 200 assists.
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