CEDAR RAPIDS — When Kenyon Murray and his wife, Michelle, had twin sons 18 years ago, they decided the first of the boys to make an appearance in this world would be named Kris.
It was a tribute to Kenyon’s basketball teammate at the University of Iowa, Chris Street, who died in an automobile accident during his junior season in 1993. With that special ‘K’ twist.
Turn forward now to Monday when Kris and Keegan Murray officially announced they are accepting scholarship offers to play for the Hawkeyes. The Murray boys graduated from Cedar Rapids Prairie and are spending a post-grad year at DME Sports Academy in Daytona Beach, Fla.
They will be freshmen at Iowa next season.
“First of all, to see them realize their dream of playing Division I college basketball, as parents, it just makes my wife and I very happy,” said Kenyon Murray, who played at Iowa from 1992 to 1996. “Then for it to be at my alma mater, that’s just icing on the cake.”
The Murray boys are identical in appearance and have similiarities in their games, though they — and their father — insist there are many differences as well. Keegan is 6-foot-8 and Kris 6-7, and they can shoot it, dribble drive and play multiple positions.
Both were all-staters last season at Prairie and posted virtually identical numbers. Keegan averaged 20.3 points and 7.2 rebounds, Kris 18.4 and 6.3.
“Feels like a dream come true,” Kris Murray said. “It hasn’t really sunk in, yet. It’s pretty cool going to school where my dad played. It was the best decision for me.”
“It wasn’t necessarily that important for us,” Keegan Murray said, when asked if it was a foregone conclusion the brothers would wind up at the same college. “But when Iowa said they would take both of us, we jumped on that opportunity ... It’s special to go where my dad did, but I want to create my own legacy.”
Western Illinois was the only Division I program to offer the twins scholarships out of high school, and they made the decision to go to DMA instead, where they don’t take classes and focus strictly on basketball. A showcase they played recently in Florida called the Hoop Exchange Fall Festival got them on many major college programs’ radars.
Iowa set up official visits for them this past weekend, offering Friday. The boys called Hawkeyes coaches Sunday and told them they were in.
“That showcase helped us a lot. Our coach (at DME) told us he was on the phone with coaches for three straight hours after it was over,” Keegan Murray said. “That opened up a lot of things. Iowa called and set up a visit for us. After they offered, I was kind of shocked at first, honestly. I had to have time to process that.”
“It just felt like it was natural,” Kris Murray said. “I knew after they offered, I wasn’t going to take any other visits.”
Kenyon Murray said Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery told him after seeing his boys at this past March’s Eastern Iowa All-Star Games event at Kirkwood Community College that he felt they had a chance to play major college basketball. Assistant coach Billy Taylor watched Keegan and Kris at the Florida showcase and that set off a whirlwind of activity. Assistant coach Kirk Speraw also watched the twins play.
“They’ve gotten stronger and added weight,” Kenyon said, adding that Keegan is up to 215 pounds and Kris 205. “They are shooting it better than they ever have. They have the ability to play different positions. At that showcase, they were playing everything 1 through 5. And Fran said he really likes their basketball IQ.”
The Murray commitments mean Iowa has a full amount of scholarship players for next season, with the Hawkeyes one of four finalists for Oskaloosa 7-footer Xavier Foster. There is an unknown, though, in whether senior senior guard Jordan Bohannon will take a medical redshirt this season.
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If he does, theoretically, there would be no room for Foster, though surely the Hawkeyes would find room for the 4-star prospect.
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