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Luka Garza

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Luka Garza
Garza with the Iowa Hawkeyes in 2020
No. 55 – Minnesota Timberwolves
Personal information
Born (1998-12-27) December 27, 1998 (age 25)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
NationalityAmerican / Bosnian
Listed height6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Listed weight243 lb (110 kg)
Career information
High schoolMaret School (Washington, D.C.)
CollegeIowa (2017–2021)
NBA draft2021: 2nd round, 52nd overall pick
Selected by the Detroit Pistons
Playing career2021–present
Career history
2021–2022Detroit Pistons
2021–2022Motor City Cruise
2022–presentMinnesota Timberwolves
20222024Iowa Wolves
Career highlights and awards
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at Basketball-Reference.com

Luka H. Garza (born December 27, 1998) is an American-born naturalized Bosnian professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Bosnian and Herzegovinian national team.

Garza played college basketball for the Iowa Hawkeyes, where he was the consensus pick for national college player of the year for the 2020–21 season. As a junior, he was named a consensus first-team All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year. Garza played for Maret School in his hometown of Washington, D.C.

Early life and high school career


Garza grew up in Reston, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. He learned to play basketball from his father, Frank, who played for Idaho. Garza watched video tapes that his father collected of former National Basketball Association (NBA) post players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and attempted to recreate their moves.[1]

He stood 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) as a freshman attending Maret School in Washington, D.C., but was not able to dunk a basketball until he was a sophomore.[1] In high school, Garza was coached by Chuck Driesell, son of Basketball Hall of Fame coach Lefty Driesell.[2] In his senior season, he averaged 24.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. Garza led Maret to the District of Columbia State Athletic Association (DCSAA) title game and earned D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year honors.[3] He left as his school's all-time leading scorer, with 1,993 points.[4]



He was a four-star recruit and chose to play college basketball for Iowa over offers from Georgetown, Georgia and Notre Dame, among others.[5]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight Commit date
Luka Garza
Washington, D.C. Maret School (DC) 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 265 lb (120 kg) Sep 10, 2016 
Recruiting star ratings: ScoutN/A   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports:4/5 stars    ESPN:4/5 stars   ESPN grade: 83
Overall recruiting rankings:   Rivals: 111  247Sports: 105  ESPN: 100
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


  • "Iowa 2017 Basketball Commitments". Rivals.com. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  • "2017 Iowa Hawkeyes Recruiting Class". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  • "2017 Team Ranking". Rivals.com. Retrieved May 28, 2020.

College career

Garza (right) in December 2019

Freshman season (2017–2018)


In his college debut versus Chicago State, Garza had 16 points. He had his first double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds the following game in a win over Alabama State and was named Big Ten freshman of the week.[6] As a freshman, Garza averaged 12.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.[7]

Sophomore season (2018–2019)


Shortly before his sophomore season, Garza underwent surgery to remove a nine-pound (4.1 kg) cyst attached to his spleen.[8][9] He also dealt with a sprained ankle in January 2019.[7] In the NCAA Tournament, Garza had 20 points and seven rebounds to help Iowa upset Cincinnati.[2] He averaged 13.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore.[10] Garza was named All-Big Ten honorable mention by the media.[11]

Junior season (2019–2020)


Garza scored 44 points, third-most in Iowa history, in a 103–91 loss to Michigan on December 6.[12] He followed this up with 21 points and 10 rebounds in a 72–52 win over Minnesota and was named Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week.[13] In an 84–68 win against Iowa State on December 12, Garza had a tooth jarred loose after taking an elbow from teammate Joe Wieskamp. Garza returned to the game and finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds.[14] Garza had 34 points and 12 rebounds in a 89–86 loss to Penn State on January 4, 2020.[15] He was named to the midseason watch lists for the Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy and Oscar Robertson Trophy.[16][17] On February 13, Garza tallied 38 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in an 89–77 loss to Indiana.[18] At the close of the regular season, he was named the Big Ten Player of the Year.[19] He was then named National Player of the Year by the Sporting News.[20] Garza averaged 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game as a junior, earning consensus first-team All-American honors.[21][22] Following the season, Garza declared for the 2020 NBA draft.[23] On August 2, he announced he was withdrawing from the draft and returning to Iowa.[24]

Senior season (2020–2021)


On November 27, Garza scored a Carver–Hawkeye Arena-record 41 points, including 36 in the first half, on 14-of-15 shooting while posting nine rebounds and three blocks in a 103–76 win over Southern. He joined John Johnson as the only players in program history to record two 40-point games.[25] In his next game, on December 3, Garza scored 30 first-half points as part of a 35-point, 10-rebound performance in a 99–58 victory over Western Illinois.[26] On December 11, he posted 34 points and six three-pointers in a 105–77 win over Iowa State.[27] Garza scored his 2,000th point in a February 2, 2021, win over Michigan State.[28] On February 21, he recorded 23 points and 11 rebounds in a 74–68 victory over Penn State, surpassing Roy Marble to become Iowa's all-time leading scorer.[29] After a win over the #25 Wisconsin Badgers, athletic director Gary Barta announced that they would be retiring #55 for Garza.[30]

At the close of the season, Garza was again named Sporting News Player of the Year, becoming the first repeat winner since Michael Jordan in 1983 and 1984.[31] He averaged 24.1 points and 8.7 rebounds as a senior,[32] and became the first player in Iowa men's basketball history to twice be named Big Ten Player of the Year[33][34] and consensus first-team All-American.[35]

Professional career


Detroit Pistons (2021–2022)


Garza was selected with the 52nd overall pick by the Detroit Pistons in the 2021 NBA draft.[36] After a standout Summer League performance, Garza was signed to a two-way contract by the Pistons and their NBA G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise.[37] On September 24, the team announced they had converted his contract from a two-way to a standard deal.[38]

On October 23, Garza made his NBA debut, posting three points, two rebounds, two steals and one assist across six minutes of play in a 97–82 loss to the Chicago Bulls.[39][40] On November 23, Garza made his first career start, scoring seven points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field and 1-of-1 from three, in addition to three rebounds and two assists in a 100–92 loss to the Miami Heat.[41][42] On December 26, Garza scored a career-high 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field and 2-of-5 from three, to go along with six rebounds and two assists, before fouling out in a 144–109 blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs.[43][44] On January 1, 2022, Garza logged his first career double-double with a career-high tying 20 points and a career-high 14 rebounds across a career-high 40 minutes of action in a 117–116 win over the Spurs.[45][46] Together with teammates Hamidou Diallo and Saddiq Bey, they became the first trio in league history to register 20 points and 14 rebounds in the same game in over 40 years.[47][48] On June 29, the Pistons declined their team option on Garza, making him a free agent.[49]

In July 2022, Garza joined the Portland Trail Blazers for the 2022 NBA Summer League.[50]

Minnesota Timberwolves (2022–present)


On August 23, 2022, Garza signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves.[51] On October 15, 2022, the Timberwolves converted his deal to a two-way contract.[52] Garza was named captain of Team Luka for the G League's inaugural Next Up Game for the 2022–23 season.[53] He was named the MVP of the game after leading his team to a 178–162 win over Team Scoot, logging 23 points and eight rebounds.[54]

On July 3, 2023, he signed another two-way contract with the Timberwolves.[55]

On April 4, 2024, Garza's contract was converted to a standard NBA contract, dropping his two-way status and allowing him to play for the Timberwolves during the 2024 NBA playoffs.[56] This came the day after a game against the Toronto Raptors in which Garza scored 16 points in 9 minutes, his then-season high.

On July 6, 2024, Garza re-signed with the Timberwolves.[57]

National team career


In September 2020, Garza expressed his interest to represent the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team internationally.[58] In December 2021, he told a reporter that he finished the process of obtaining dual citizenship.[59] He made his debut in August 2023 in an Olympic qualifiers game against Portugal, finishing the match with 15 points and 12 rebounds.[60]

Career statistics

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high



Regular season

2021–22 Detroit 32 5 12.2 .449 .327 .623 3.1 .6 .3 .2 5.8
2022–23 Minnesota 28 0 8.7 .543 .359 .788 2.3 .6 .1 .1 6.5
2023–24 Minnesota 25 0 4.9 .480 .281 .720 1.2 .2 .2 .0 4.0
Career 85 5 8.9 .488 .325 .703 2.3 .5 .2 .1 5.5


2024 Minnesota 7 0 3.7 .833 .667 .875 .9 .1 .0 .0 4.1
Career 7 0 3.7 .833 .667 .875 .9 .1 .0 .0 4.1


2017–18 Iowa 33 26 21.7 .557 .348 .681 6.4 1.1 .3 1.0 12.1
2018–19 Iowa 32 30 23.7 .531 .292 .804 4.5 .9 .3 .5 13.1
2019–20 Iowa 31 31 32.0 .542 .358 .651 9.8 1.2 .8 1.8 23.9
2020–21 Iowa 31 31 31.5 .553 .440 .709 8.7 1.7 .7 1.6 24.1
Career 127 118 27.1 .546 .367 .701 7.3 1.2 .5 1.2 18.2

Personal life


Garza's father is of Spanish American origin, and his mother is from Bosnia and Herzegovina, of Bosniak origin. Both of Garza's parents have basketball experience: his father, Frank, played collegiately at Idaho, and his mother, Šejla (née Muftić), played professionally in Europe. His paternal grandfather, James Halm, played college basketball for Hawaii. His maternal uncle, Bosnian born Teo Alibegović, husband of his mother’s sister Lejla Muftić, was the all-time leading scorer for the Slovenia national basketball team.[61] His cousins Amar Alibegović, Mirza Alibegović and Denis Alibegović are all professional basketball players in Europe. His maternal grandfather, Refik Muftić, was an accomplished association football goalkeeper, spending his entire career with FK Sarajevo.[62]


  1. ^ a b Emmert, Mark (February 6, 2019). "Iowa's Luka Garza studies the masters in attempt to become elite scorer". HawkCentral.com. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Feinstein, John (March 22, 2019). "Iowa's Luka Garza is a rising star, and Lefty Driesell has been saying it for years". The Gazette. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  3. ^ Whooley, Connor (March 20, 2017). "Iowa hoops commit Luke Garza wins Washington, D.C., Gatorade Player of the Year". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on December 13, 2019. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  4. ^ Mullan, Dillon (March 21, 2017). "Maret big man Luka Garza wins D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  5. ^ Goodwin, Cody (September 10, 2016). "Four-star big man Luka Garza commits to Iowa hoops". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  6. ^ "Iowa and Minnesota Earn First Weekly Men's Basketball Honors: Minnesota's Jordan Murphy earns Player of the Week honors; Hawkeyes' Luka Garza named Freshmen of the Week". BigTen.org. CBS Interactive. November 13, 2017. Archived from the original on November 14, 2017. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Sophomore Luka Garza on a tear for surging Hawkeyes". USA Today. Associated Press. February 5, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  8. ^ "Iowa C Luka Garza shooting for opener after cyst removed". USA Today. Associated Press. October 8, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  9. ^ Eickholt, David (December 14, 2019). "Luka Garza is "as tough of a player as you're going to find"". 247 Sports. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  10. ^ Meredith, Luke (December 5, 2019). "Luka Garza's Monster Start Propels Surging Hawkeyes". CollegeBasketball.ap.org. Associated Press. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  11. ^ "Big Ten Unveils Men's Basketball Postseason Honors on BTN". BigTen.org. March 11, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.[dead link]
  12. ^ Kahn, Andrew (December 7, 2019). "Luka Garza dropped 44 points on Michigan but it didn't matter". MLive.com. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  13. ^ Eickholt, David (December 10, 2019). "Luka Garza named Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week". 247 Sports. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  14. ^ Creglow, Zach; Emmert, Mark (December 12, 2019). "Iowa star Luka Garza has tooth jarred loose, returns to game: 'I'll do anything for this team'". Hawk Central. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  15. ^ Emmert, Mark (January 4, 2020). "No. 25 Iowa falls 89–86 to No. 21 Penn State at historic Palestra". Hawk Central. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  16. ^ "Gonzaga's Filip Petrusev among new faces on Wooden Award midseason list". ESPN. January 8, 2020. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  17. ^ Bohnenkamp, John (February 13, 2020). "Garza Named To Robertson, Naismith Lists". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  18. ^ Leistikow, Chad (February 13, 2020). "Iowa wastes another huge night from Luka Garza in loss at Indiana". Iowa City Press-Citizen. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  19. ^ "Big Ten Unveils Men's Basketball Postseason Honors on BTN". BigTen.com (Press release). Big Ten Conference. March 9, 2020. Archived from the original on March 9, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  20. ^ DeCourcy, Mike (March 10, 2020). "Iowa's Luka Garza is Sporting News' 2019-20 Player of the Year". Sporting News. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  21. ^ Dauster, Rob (March 10, 2020). "NBC Sports College Basketball All-American Teams". NBC Sports. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  22. ^ "Luka Garza: Consensus First-Team All-American". University of Iowa Athletics. March 24, 2020. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  23. ^ "Iowa's Luka Garza declares for NBA draft, keeps eligibility". ESPN. April 10, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  24. ^ Dauster, Rob (August 2, 2020). "Luka Garza returns to Iowa to make a run at Player of the Year, Final Four". NBC Sports. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  25. ^ Bohnenkamp, John (November 27, 2020). "Nearly perfect Garza scores 41, No. 5 Iowa routs Southern". The Washington Post. The Associated Press. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  26. ^ Doxsie, Don (December 4, 2020). "Luka Garza scores 30-plus again as Iowa beats Western Illinois". Sioux City Journal. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  27. ^ Hlas, Mike (December 11, 2020). "Luka Garza torches Iowa State in second half, Iowa wins 105-77". The Gazette. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  28. ^ "Garza reaches 2,000 points as Iowa tops Michigan State 84-78". USA Today. February 2, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  29. ^ "Luka Garza becomes Iowa's all-time scoring leader". KCCI. February 21, 2021. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  30. ^ "Iowa to retire Luka Garza's number at end of season". The Athletic. March 7, 2021. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  31. ^ DeCourcy, Mike (March 9, 2021). "Iowa's Luka Garza is Sporting News' first repeat winner as Player of the Year since Michael Jordan". Sporting News. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  32. ^ Kasabian, Paul (April 1, 2021). "Luka Garza Wins 2021 AP Player of Year Award over Ayo Dosunmu, Cade Cunningham". BleacherReport.com. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  33. ^ "Luka Garza Voted Big Ten Player of the Year". University of Iowa Athletics. March 9, 2021. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  34. ^ "Garza repeats as Big Ten player of year; Howard top coach". APNews.com. March 9, 2021. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  35. ^ Howe, Rob (March 18, 2021). "Luka Garza Unanimous Consensus All-American". HawkeyeNation.com. Retrieved April 2, 2021. Garza has earned unanimous consensus first-team All-America status for a second straight year as a result of being voted to All-America first teams by the NBAC, Sporting News, Associated Press, and United States Basketball Writers Association. Garza becomes the program's only repeat consensus All-America honoree.
  36. ^ "2021 NBA Draft results: Picks 1-60". NBA.com. July 31, 2021. Retrieved July 31, 2021.
  37. ^ "Detroit Pistons Sign Luka Garza and Chris Smith to Two-Way Contracts". NBA.com. August 17, 2021. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  38. ^ Pistons PR [@Pistons_PR] (September 24, 2021). "The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has converted center Luka Garza's two-way contract to a standard NBA contract. Terms of the contract were not disclosed" (Tweet). Retrieved September 24, 2021 – via Twitter.
  39. ^ "Pistons' Luka Garza reacts to scoring first points in the NBA". The Rookie Wire. October 24, 2021. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  40. ^ "Former Iowa star Luka Garza scores first points of NBA career with Detroit Pistons". SaturdayTradition.com. October 24, 2021. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  41. ^ "Pistons' Luka Garza: Struggles in first career start". CBSSports.com. November 24, 2021. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  42. ^ "'It was a dream come true': Luka Garza thankful for first NBA start". The Rookie Wire. November 24, 2021. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  43. ^ "Pistons' Luka Garza: Goes for 20 points in 20 minutes". CBSSports.com. December 27, 2021. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  44. ^ Eickholt, David (December 27, 2021). "Former Hawkeye Luka Garza drops career-high against San Antonio Spurs". 247sports.com. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  45. ^ "Pistons' Luka Garza: Pops for 20 points, 14 boards". CBSSports.com. January 2, 2022. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  46. ^ "Luka Garza's first double-double helps Pistons players make history". The Rookie Wire. January 2, 2022. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  47. ^ NBA [@NBA] (January 1, 2022). ".Career-highs in rebounds for these three @DetroitPistons as they become the first trio with 20 PTS and 14 REB in over 40 years!" (Tweet). Retrieved January 4, 2022 – via Twitter.
  48. ^ Kellerstrass, Aaron (January 2, 2022). "Unlikely trio makes history for the Detroit Pistons in win over Spurs". PistonPowered.com. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  49. ^ Pistons PR [@Pistons_PR] (June 29, 2022). "The Detroit Pistons have exercised the team option for the contract of Hamidou Diallo while Cory Joseph has opted in to return for the 2022-23 NBA season. The Pistons have declined the options for the contracts of Luka Garza and Frank Jackson for the upcoming season. #Pistons" (Tweet). Retrieved June 29, 2022 – via Twitter.
  50. ^ "Portland Trail Blazers 2022 NBA2K23 Summer League Roster". NBA.com. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  51. ^ Nardinger, Taylor (August 23, 2022). "Timberwolves Sign CJ Elleby and Luka Garza". NBA.com. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  52. ^ "Report: Timberwolves sign Luka Garza to 2-way deal | Sports Illustrated Minnesota Sports, News, Analysis, and More". SI.com. October 15, 2022. Retrieved October 25, 2022.
  53. ^ "Wolves' Garza And Ignite's Henderson Named Captains For NBA G League Next Up Game". NBA.com. February 7, 2023. Retrieved March 8, 2023.
  54. ^ Schad, Chris (February 23, 2023). "Timberwolves' Luka Garza wins MVP in NBA G-League's 'Next Up' Game". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved March 8, 2023.
  55. ^ Nardinger, Taylor (July 3, 2023). "Timberwolves Re-Sign Luka Garza". NBA.com. Retrieved July 6, 2023.
  56. ^ "Timberwolves Convert Luka Garza to Standard NBA Contract". NBA.com. April 4, 2024. Retrieved April 4, 2024.
  57. ^ "Timberwolves Re-Sign Luka Garza". NBA.com. July 6, 2024. Retrieved July 7, 2024.
  58. ^ Eickholt, David (September 4, 2020). "Luka Garza aiming to play on Bosnia's national team". 247sports.com. Retrieved July 21, 2021.
  59. ^ "Luka Garza dobio državljanstvo BiH, može igrati za reprezentaciju". SportSport.ba (in Croatian). Retrieved January 2, 2022.
  60. ^ Mrkonja, Haris (August 13, 2023). "Zmajevi savladali Portugal teže od očekivanog, sljedeća Poljska". N1Info.ba. Retrieved August 23, 2023.
  61. ^ Goldwein, Eric (February 25, 2016). "Maret's Luka Garza keeps family basketball tradition going". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  62. ^ "Košarkaš Luka Garza: Želim predstavljati BiH". Glas Amerike (in Bosnian). October 9, 2020. Retrieved July 7, 2021.