Prep Sports

Identical twins, identical numbers: Keegan and Kris Murray help Cedar Rapids Prairie to great season

Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Keegan Murray (3) tries to drive past Cedar Rapids Washington’s Riley Pankey (14) during the first half of a game at Washington High School inCedar Rapids on Friday, January 25, 2019. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Keegan Murray (3) tries to drive past Cedar Rapids Washington’s Riley Pankey (14) during the first half of a game at Washington High School inCedar Rapids on Friday, January 25, 2019. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — They agree when it comes to their personalities.

“I’d say I’m more vocal than he is,” Kris Murray said. “He’s kind of more laid back. If something needs to change or get better, I’ll be the one to say something.”

“I don’t know,” Keegan Murray said. “I just don’t say anything.”

But later on in a lengthy conversation with the Cedar Rapids Prairie basketball stars, the topic of their respective games comes up. Their father, Prairie assistant coach and former Iowa Hawkeye Kenyon Murray, pointed out how they’re different.

He believes the widespread narrative that their college recruiting, especially at the Division I level, has gone slow because schools don’t want to take two of the same player is false. The boys are asked to explain what dad meant.

“I’m more of a catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter,” Kris Murray said. “Drive to the basket, kick out. Just kind of a spot-up shooter.”

“I’m better at post than you,” Keegan Murray countered.

That caused Kris to give his twin brother a sideways look. It’s obvious he didn’t agree.

OK, for the sake of preventing a fight here, let’s just say these guys can play. Period.

“The sky is the limit for them,” Kenyon Murray said. “And whoever gets them is going to get two really good players.”

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The Murray boys are identical in appearance, not to mention statistically. Keegan averages 20.5 points, Kris exactly one less.

Keegan averages 7.3 rebounds, Kris less than one per game less. Their field goal, 3-point field goal and free-throw attempts are virtually the same.

They have grown significantly since their sophomore years: Keegan 8 inches to 6-foot-8 and Kris 7 inches to 6-foot-7. Their doctor tells them they might not be done growing, either.

Kids with their height, who can handle it and shoot it, and who certainly have not grown into their bodies, yet, have very high upside. Kris and Keegan Murray have high upside.

It’s weird that the scholarship offers have come only from Division II schools and junior colleges thus far. Prep school could be an option for them for a year, too.

Everything is wide open. The brothers are letting dad handle all that right now, concentrated on the Class 4A postseason, which begins Monday night.

Prairie (16-3) has a first-round substate bye, hosting likely Dubuque Hempstead in a substate semifinal Friday night. The Hawks tied for the MVC Mississippi Division championship with Dubuque Senior, their first confererence title since 2001.

They seek the school’s first state tournament appearance since 1998. It has been a special winter.

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“It’s difficult at times because we like to argue a lot,” Keegan said, of the relationship between him and his brother. “We like the same things and stuff like that. On the court, it’s pretty easy because it’s like having yourself on the court with you. So it’s like passing to myself and knowing that you’ll make the right plays, things like that. I feel like having a twin, it can be beneficial most of the time. But sometimes it can be a little hard.”

Kris is the older of the siblings by a couple of minutes. He is named after the late Chris Street, Kenyon’s former teammate and friend at Iowa.

Keegan wears jersey No. 3, his dad’s old number at Iowa. Kris used to wear 24, his mother’s old number, but has shortened it to No. 4.

Michelle Murray played high school basketball at Anamosa. The boys’ 86-year-old great-grandmother played one year of college basketball and in South America.

Yes, the twins have watched old videos of their dad playing at Iowa. They’ve even seen one of mom.

“Literally the first 10 seconds of it, she goes down on a fastbreak and some girl takes her out,” Kris said with a smile. “She gets up and they just start fighting, pulling each other’s hair.”

Unlike mom and dad, the twins are very low flow on and off the court. Quiet and respectful young men.

Kenyon says not to take that the wrong way. The fire in them basketball-wise is internal.

“I think their personalities make them very good in tough situations,” he said. “I think that’s when they play their best, because they are so even-keeled. A lot of people look at it like they’re unemotional, or they don’t play with passion. But these two guys love playing basketball more than anyone I know.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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