116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Jeremy Rickertsen popped in to visit Keegan Murray and his family Monday afternoon at their westside Cedar Rapids home.
He was struck by what he saw, in a good way.
“I knew they were leaving for New York on Tuesday,” the Cedar Rapids Prairie head boys’ basketball coach said. “Keegan’s sitting at the kitchen table giving his sister crap. In my mind, I was like ‘On Thursday night, your name is going to be broadcast world wide. On a Monday afternoon, you’re sitting here in Cedar Rapids.’”
Murray was selected fourth overall in Thursday night’s NBA Draft, to the Sacramento Kings, the first lottery pick from the University of Iowa and the first first-rounder from Cedar Rapids. Around 40 people gathered at Prairie to watch the draft go down.
They applauded loudly when Murray, his dad, Michelle, and dad, Kenyon, were introduced at the draft, as the family walked from a platform runway to their seats at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They exploded in gleeful jubilation when Murray’s name was announced as a draft pick.
“This is so exciting,” said John Randles, the longtime Prairie public-address announcer, who shouted Murray’s name countless times after scoring a basket in his three-year varsity career with the Hawks. “You can’t ask for a better person than Keegan. Just a class act all around. Not just himself, but he’s always been a good team member. It’s just great to see.”
“This is surreal,” said Max Lampe, a former teammate of Murray at Prairie. “I mean, I’m glad this is going on here to just applaud what Keegan has done this past decade. Putting in work behind the scenes that no one has really seen, to get to this moment. It’s huge. I’ve been looking at the clock for the last six hours. I’m excited and ready to go.”
Like Rickertsen, Lampe mentioned how Murray has remained humble as his game took off to the point where he became an All-American for the Hawkeyes and declared early for the draft.
Murray has continued to keep in regular contact with his old high school buddies.
“I reach out a few times a month,” Lampe said. “We text back and forth often. He’s still the same kid. Nothing has changed. Still a down-to-earth dude. As I saw in an interview one time, he said he’s going to sign his check and probably go buy groceries. That’s a 21-year-old kid thinking about his life like that instead of all the parties he’s going to have.”
Murray left some autographed memorabilia with Rickertsen and Prairie Activities Director Rocky Bennett that was handed out to kids in attendance at the watch party.
Prairie senior-to-be Tim Joens was too old to get any of that memorabilia, though he was OK with that. He’d already been hooked up.
“I met him once at a game,” Joens said. “Then they had an autographed thing here, and I got his autograph on a shirt.
“I’m going to hold on to that.”
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