A Former Hawkeye Star Has a New NBA Team
A former Hawkeye legend and two-time Sporting News College Player of the Year has a new home in the NBA after a yearlong stint with the Detroit Pistons.
On August 24th, Luka Garza signed a contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2021 NBA Draft, Garza appeared in 32 games with the Pistons, averaging 5.8 points per game (PPG). In addition, Garza started 16 games for the Pistons' G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise, averaging 20.6 points coupled with 9.5 rebounds. He spent the summer playing for the Portland Trail Blazers' Summer League team.
Garza now is on a Timberwolves roster marked by talent, including former #1 overall picks in Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony "Ant-Man" Edwards, and the recently acquired Rudy Gobert. With the Timberwolves' G League team being the Iowa Wolves, based in Des Moines, there's also the chance Garza could be finding his way back to Iowa in due time.
Garza was a shining star with the Hawkeyes during his four-year tenure. He averaged over 23 points in both his junior and senior years, and is the first repeat national college player of the year winner since Michael Jordan in 1983 and 1984. Garza also became the first player in Iowa men's basketball history to twice be named Big Ten Player of the Year as well as a consensus first-team All-American.
As fate would have it, Joe Wieskamp, Garza's former teammate at Iowa, was resigned by the San Antonio Spurs this week too. Garza and Wieskamp, drafted by the Pistons 52nd overall and the Spurs 41st overall, respectively, became the first pair of Iowa Hawkeyes selected in an NBA draft since 1998.
Wieskamp averaged 2.1 points during his rookie campaign with San Antonio. He, too, played in the NBA G League. He appeared in 28 games for the Austin Spurs where he averaged 15.4 points.
While the details of Garza's contract were not disclosed, Wieskamp's deal is a reported two-year, $4.4 million contract.
Both Garza and Wieskamp do their part in keeping Iowa basketball in the headlines. This summer, Keegan Murray has almost been single-handedly doing that since being drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the 2022 NBA Draft. Murray has a solid chance of winning Rookie of the Year, and his odds have only improved after a stellar Summer League performance, which resulted in him winning MVP.
As of now, Garza, Wieskamp, and Murray are the only active Iowa Hawkeye alums in the NBA.