IOWA CITY, Iowa – It was Senior Day, but Luka Garza didn’t know he was going to have to give a speech.
The Iowa center also didn’t know what else was coming in the postgame ceremony.
Minutes after the 6-foot-11 star scored 21 points and had 16 rebounds to lead the fifth-ranked Hawkeyes over No. 25 Wisconsin 77-73 Sunday, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta announced Garza’s jersey No. 55 would be retired after the season.
It’s why coach Fran McCaffery pulled Garza aside to tell him in advance about the announcement.
Garza began crying.
“He did not know that was going to happen,” McCaffery said. “And I knew Mr. Barta was going to ask him to speak. So I wanted him to kind of give him an opportunity to collect his thoughts.”
Garza delivered, again.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect it at all,” he said. “I didn’t realize it was a plan. Coach telling me that was a surreal feeling. That moment will be something I remember forever. Time slowed down. It was a real honor.”