Iowa got its man on Saturday evening. After months of hard work tracking Washington D.C. native Luka Garza, the three-star center picked the Hawkeyes over a host of high-major programs.
There is no doubt that the Hawkeyes viewed Garza as a high level player given the time and effort that Head Coach Fran McCaffery and his staff put into recruiting Garza. What now will be interesting is to see how McCaffery utilizes Garza and how his particular skillset works in the evolving world of college basketball.
One thing that no one questions with Garza is his ability to score. At 6-foot-9 with long arms and a supremely high skill level, Garza can be a force on the offensive end. In pick and pop situations he is absolutely tremendous.
Garza has the ability to hit the mid-range jumper, and then also he is an excellent three point shooter. When he gets a clean look and his feet are set, Garza can almost be counted on to make the shot, no matter where he is on the court.
Also when he has a favorable matchup Garza has shown the ability to really score off of post moves as well. He can hit hooks with either hand, and has a solid feel for footwork around the rim, and creating angles for himself to score.
With that there is no question that he has the ability to be a scorer for the Hawkeyes, however given how college basketball has changed, Garza became a bit divisive among coaches and scouts as to how he translates to the next level.
The massive concern with Garza is that he struggles with athleticism. He doesn’t run the floor real well, and really struggles to defend in ball screen situations moving laterally.
This brings about the question, that quite honestly no one can answer right now. That is, will Garza be a big enough factor on the offensive end that he will make up for the obvious limitations that he has on the defensive end.
20 years ago this wouldn’t be a concern. A true back to the basket center with limited athleticism was just fine in college basketball. Now however the game is changing, and some schools were scared that his limitations on defense couldn’t be worked in to their system.
Time will tell which side was right in this debate. That said there is no question that McCaffery and his staff believed in Garza, and they feel he is going to be an excellent player in the Big Ten.
Now it is up to Garza to prove the doubters wrong and prove his future head coach correct, and show that his impressive skill level and willingness to compete will play up in one of the best basketball conferences in the country.