May 18, 2022

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Iowa sophomore basketball player Keegan Murray enters the NBA Draft

Iowa sophomore basketball player Keegan Murray enters the NBA Draft

Iowa student Keegan Murray It will enter the 2022 NBA Draft.

“I am forever grateful to that coach [Fran] “McAffrey gave me the opportunity to make my dream come true,” Murray told ESPN on Tuesday. “Iowa will always be my home and I’m forever grateful to be a part of the Hawkeye Nation.”

Murray, fifth in the ESPN 100, was named the first American first team unanimously after averaging 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 32 minutes per game. He led Iowa State to the Big Ten Championship, and was named MVP after scoring 103 points in four games.

He is currently a finalist for some of the most prestigious post-season awards in college basketball, including the Wooden, Naismith, and Lute Olson Awards, presented annually to the Division I men’s basketball best player.

Murray has taken a unique path to emerge as a possible top five in June. He graduated from Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with only one Division I scholarship offered from Western Illinois, which led him to spend a year after graduation at DME Academy in Florida, with his twin brother, Chris.

“I went into my first year in Iowa trying to learn,” said Keegan Murray. “I had the best national player on our team in Luca GarzaVeterans are back. My goal was to learn from them and figure out what I could do to get minutes and benefit our team, which meant being a really loud and strong person on defense. I tried to fill this role as much as possible.”

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Murray came off the bench as a freshman and averaged 7.2 points in 18 minutes per game. He then exploded to become the best college basketball player as a sophomore, ranking fourth in the country in scoring and first in the Player Proficiency (PER) rating.

“The biggest focus for me off the season was to be a better player physically,” Murray said. “I gained 15 pounds and was able to increase my vertical jump [6-foot-8], 205 pounds in college. I’ve grown to about 6-9, and between 220-225 pounds, which has helped me a lot.”

Murray started the season as a first-round pick, but quickly established himself as one of the best prospects in the NBA in all of college basketball, as a 6-9 forward with a modern skill set and fantastic versatility on both ends of the floor. He’s hit 40% with three throws this season, finished second in the country in the transition thanks to his ability to push the ball aggressively away from defensive glass, and prove his ability to punish smaller players inside the post. Perhaps most interesting from an NBA standpoint is the way he defended the ground for Iowa State, whether it was at the top of the Hawkeyes full stadium pressure, switching to smaller players in pick-and-roll covers, or wearing the body of positions inside paint.

“Before coming to Iowa, I always played wing position,” Murray said. “It was my first time playing 4 and 5. We were kids in the Big Ten. I would do whatever was needed to win because of my skill set. This year I needed to play 5. I feel like in the NBA, I can play 2 to 5 5. I can adapt to whatever position I play in.

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“I’m looking forward to showing my versatility to the NBA teams on both ends of the field. I’m a lot more athletic than people realize. I’m a competitive player as far as you’ll get. It doesn’t show from my facial expressions, but I love the game of basketball and competing every night has been a blessing to me.” I’m not worried about where I’m recruited. I want to be in the best possible position and play for a team that I value my game and understand what I can excel at.”

The NBA Draft will take place May 16-22 in Chicago, and the draft will be June 23 in Brooklyn, New York.