Luka Garza probably will make history this weekend.
The Iowa center needs just 44 points to become the program’s all-time leading scorer, passing Roy Marble (2,116 points). With the 11th-ranked Hawkeyes playing at Wisconsin on Thursday and at home against Penn State on Sunday, Garza — who averages a nation-high 24.5 points — should be able to break the record.
It’s not really on his mind, he said on Tuesday.
“Obviously that was never a goal of mine walking into the University of Iowa, I never said I wanted to get that record,” Garza said. “Over time, things just kind of took care of themselves. And I’m in this position now. It would be a tremendous honor to be talked about in the same sentence as (Marble). It definitely is really cool when you think about it.”
Garza called himself a “basketball nerd” who likes to immerse himself in the game’s history.
“I just heard a lot of stories (about Marble),” Garza said. “. And obviously, I can see what he did stat-wise. I’ve seen videos and highlights, different things to see how talented he was. Just the impact he had at the University of Iowa, on and off the court. I think it’s awesome to be able to be a part of history, and kind of approach where he was at.
“Me, I’m a guy who loves the game of basketball. So wherever I’m at, I’m going to want to know the history of who played there. I started to learn more about the best players of the program over time. I think, you know, I’ve always been the guy to appreciate the legends of the game of basketball. Especially in a place like this, a place I love, I want to know who is the best, and how they did it. I was curious to know about him.”
“Yeah, it was one of those records that you knew it would eventually get broken but it was going to be really hard, especially now with people leaving early,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “But any time you can score over 2,000 points, that's an incredible accomplishment. I coached against Roy and, of course, I got to know him, which was really special for me.
“But to watch Luka just keep grinding … you're going to have to be an incredibly productive player for four years to score over 2,000 points and stay on the floor. I'm so proud of Luka, and as I said before, I just wish Roy was here to see it and be a part of it.”
Garza is coming off an 8-point game in Sunday’s 88-58 win at Michigan State. It was his first game in single digits since he scored nine points in a loss to San Diego State on November 29, 2019, a streak of 44 games in double digits.
“Honestly, it wasn’t really that important to me,” Garza said. “I didn’t know (the streak) was that long. I think I knew San Diego State was that game. It was more important we won the game.
“I didn’t come back to score points. Obviously I do score points, but I didn’t come back to do that. I came back to win games. When I look back on my career, being able to beat Michigan State by 30 at their place is something I’ll remember over having 26 points against whoever. That’s something I’ll remember because it was a lot of fun.”
Garza recalled his sophomore season, when the Hawkeyes went to Michigan State and lost by 22 points.
“I don’t remember if I had a good game or a bad game,” he said. “You remember losing by that much.”
Garza has made just 11-of-31 shots in the last two games, and just three of his last 10 free throws.
He’s not concerned.
“You’re not always going to make shots,” Garza said. “It’s just how it is.”