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Iowa’s Keegan Murray was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the fourth pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.
Murray, from Cedar Rapids Prairie, became the highest NBA draft pick ever from Iowa. Fred Brown went sixth in 1971. Murray is the Hawkeyes’ first Top 10 pick since Ronnie Lester in 1980.
Murray, 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, was a consensus All-America forward this year after averaging 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocked shots and 1.3 steals per game. He made 39.8 percent (66-of-166) of his 3-point tries.
He was the first Division I player to average 20 points, block 60 shots and make 60 3-pointers in a season since Texas’ Kevin Durant in 2006-07.
The first three picks were Duke forward Paolo Banchero to Orlando, Gonzaga forward Chet Holmgren to Oklahoma City, and Auburn forward Jabari Smith to Houston.
It had been widely believed the Kings would use the No. 4 pick on Murray or Purdue guard Jaden Ivey. Other teams reportedly held trade talks with the team for the No. 4 selection, but it kept the pick in order to get Murray. Ivey went fifth, to the Detroit Pistons.
Murray joins a team that hasn’t reached the NBA playoffs since 2006. He plays a position at which the Kings needed help. They went 30-52 this season.
Earlier this week, the Sacramento Bee reported Murray dined with Sacramento players De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis in Sacramento while there to visit with team executives.
“I think from me, they’re getting a winner, first and foremost,” Murray said on ABC following the pick. “I’m very versatile. I hit a late growth spurt, so I have a lot more room to grow in my game and I’m excited to get to that.”
“He’s NBA-ready right now,” college basketball analyst Jay Bilas said on ESPN. “He may not be an Instagram sensation ... but he does make the smart play every play, and he does it over and over again.”
The Kings have Ames native Harrison Barnes on their roster. Barnes, a forward, has one year remaining on a guaranteed 4-year contract. He was the last previous Iowan to be a lottery pick. He averaged 16.4 points last season. He is 30, and is name has been mentioned recently in possible trade talks.
NBA’s last three No. 4 picks:
2021 — Scottie Barnes, Toronto (NBA Rookie of the Year)
2020 — Patrick Williams, Chicago
2019 — De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta
No. 4 picks of renown:
Sacramento’s first-round picks of the last five years:
2021 — Davion Mitchell (9th pick overall)
2020 — Tyrese Haliburton (12th)
2018 — Marvin Bagley (2nd)
2017 — De’Aaron Fox (5th)
2017 — Zach Collins (10th, traded on draft night)