NCAA

Maryland's Big Ten title hopes go through Iowa as star Luka Garza to return for senior season

NCAA

The Maryland Terrapins men's basketball program clinched a share of the Big Ten regular-season title this past season, the first time the team has accomplished the feat since joining the conference in 2014.

However, the task to repeat as conference champions became a lot more difficult on Sunday, as Iowa star Luka Garza announced his intention to return to the Hawkeyes for his senior season.

The center announced his decision on Twitter on Sunday, posting a highlight video announcing his return.

Garza, the Big Ten Player of the Year a season ago, averaged 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds for the Hawkeyes. With the 6-foot-11 center returning to Iowa, the Hawkeyes are certainly the team to beat in the conference entering the season.

The Terps already had an uphill battle to repeat as Big Ten champs, as the team's two best players from a season ago are no longer with the team. Point guard Anthony Cowan graduated from the university after a stellar four-year career, while sophomore center Jalen Smith decided to forego his final two seasons and enter the NBA Draft.

"I'm very excited to be back with my teammates and look towards winning a National Championship, winning a Big Ten championship," Garza said. "We have big goals in mind."

The news is tough for Maryland fans, as Garza is one of the many players in recent years that played their high school ball in the DMV before heading to college elsewhere. Garza, who played his high school basketball at the Maret School in Washington, D.C. just nine miles south from College Park, was never offered a scholarship by Terps head coach Mark Turgeon.

 

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