College basketball's top breakout star from the 2019-20 season and one of the biggest names in the sport announced Friday that he is declaring for the NBA Draft. But Iowa junior center Luka Garza made it clear in his announcement that returning to the Hawkeyes remains an option, even as he explores the possibility of turning pro.
"The NBA has been my dream since I started playing basketball as a kid and I'm going to do everything I can to pursue that," Garza wrote. "If it ends up not being the right time to make the move to the NBA, I'm excited about the potential of what my senior season as a Hawkeye could have in store."
Players who declare for the draft have until June 3 to decide whether they wish to withdraw from consideration and return to college. If Garza does return to Iowa, he will likely be the frontrunner for most major national awards after turning in a spectacular junior season and challenging Dayton's Obi Toppin for several national player of the year honors.
But even after upping his points per game average from 13.1 to 23.9 and improving his rebounding from 4.5 boards per game to 9.8 as a junior, there are questions about how Garza's game will translate to the NBA. In a league that values positional versatility, Garza would be a traditional center who might be targeted by opposing offenses in pick-and-roll situations because of his modest lateral quickness.
However, Garza did show marked improvement this past season in 3-point shooting, making 35.8% of his 3.5 attempts per game, which is a sign that his offense may be closer to NBA-ready than his defense.