116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Keegan Murray made it official Tuesday. His Iowa Hawkeyes career is over and he is an early entry for June’s NBA draft.
The 21-year-old Iowa sophomore forward from Cedar Rapids is widely considered to be a likely lottery pick (top 14). He is coming off a season in which he was a consensus first-team All-American. He averaged 23.5 points, fourth-best in NCAA Division I and tops among players from major conferences.
Murray also averaged 8.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocked shots and 1.3 steals. He led the Hawkeyes in shooting 55.4 percent from the field and 39.8 percent (66-of-166) from 3-point distance.
“(My family) really didn’t start talking about it until after the season,” Murray said Tuesday, “because they wanted me to stay focused on the year and how that went. That was kind of the best thing for me, to keep that distraction aside.
“There was obviously a lot of talk about it during the season. I felt like I really kept my composure and just focused on the team throughout the season.
“Now I can just focus on getting myself better as a player and be ready for my future.”
Murray helped the Hawkeyes to 26 wins, their second-most in program history and most since 1986-87.
“We are excited for Keegan as he begins his professional journey,” said Hawkeyes Coach Fran McCaffery in a news release. “He has earned the right to be a lottery pick. Keegan is incredibly professional and even keeled with everything he does.
“Not only did Keegan accomplish things no other Hawkeye underclassman has ever done, but he also represented our program at the highest level. We fully support Keegan and will assist him every way we can throughout the draft process.”
“I am forever grateful to Coach McCaffery for giving me the opportunity to live out my dream,” Murray said. “I am in this position today because he believed in me when few did.”
Murray’s father, Kenyon Murray, played for the Hawkeyes in the 1990s. Keegan and his twin brother Kris came to Iowa via Prairie High School and DME Sports Academy in Florida. Keegan averaged 7.2 points coming off the bench for Iowa in 2020-21, and was impressive enough to be on the Big Ten’s preseason all-league team.
This season, he scored 37 points once and 35 on two other occasions. His 822 points broke the Iowa single-season record of Luka Garza, set the year before.
“I felt like I had a chance to do something special this year,” Murray said.
He hasn’t signed with an agent yet, but says he plans to do so soon. The NBA combine is May 16-22 in Chicago, and the draft itself is June 23 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Iowa has never had an NBA lottery pick, and hasn’t had a player selected in the first round of that league’s draft since Ricky Davis went 21st in the 1998 first round. No Hawkeye has been a top-10 pick since Ronnie Lester was 10th in 1980.
Kris Murray averaged 9.7 points per game coming off the bench this season.
“He’s going to be a special player here,” Keegan Murray said. “I feel like you saw that a little bit this season with his performances against Purdue and Indiana, especially.
“I felt like he’s just scratching the surface of where he can be. I feel like he can lead this team. He can be a great contributor on this team and kind of be the focal point of this team. He’ll be ready for that next season.”
It will be the first time the twins won’t be teammates.
“Obviously you have to go away from each other at some point,” Keegan said. “We’re 21 years old. I guess this is an opportunity for that. But he’ll be ready. I know that he kind of wants the ball in his hands more than it was this year. I have nothing but confidence in him.”
As for the NBA rookie-to-be this spring as he prepares for the draft, “It’s maintaining my strength, getting stronger, putting on good weight, and just trying to increase my athleticism from this year to next year.
“On the court, just make my game better than it was. In every area, I feel like I can get better at everything. I’m not even close to where I think I can be.”
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