Iowa sophomore basketball player Keegan Murray enters NBA draft

Iowa No. 2 student Keegan Murray will enter the 2022 NBA Draft.

“I am eternally grateful that Coach [Fran] McCaffery gave me the opportunity to live my dream,” Murray told ESPN on Tuesday. “Iowa will always be my home and I will be forever grateful to be part of the Hawkeye Nation.”

Murray, the No. 5 ESPN 100 prospect, was named a consensus first-team All-American after averaging 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 32 minutes per game. He led Iowa to a Big Ten Tournament championship, being named Most Outstanding Player after scoring a record 103 points in four games.

He is currently a finalist for some of college basketball’s most prestigious postseason awards, including the Wooden, Naismith, and Lute Olson Awards, all of which are given annually to the top player in Division I men’s basketball.

Murray followed a unique trajectory to become one of the top five potential picks in June. He graduated from Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with a single Western Illinois Division I scholarship offer, which prompted him to spend a graduate year at DME Academy in Florida, with her twin brother, Kris.

“I went into my freshman year in Iowa trying to learn,” Keegan Murray said. “I had the national player of the year in our team in Luka Garza, and the veterans were coming back. My goal was to learn from them and establish what I could do to get minutes and benefit our team. , which meant being a rushed guy and really solid defensively. I tried to fill that role as best I could.

Murray came off the bench as a rookie and averaged 7.2 points in 18 minutes per game. He then exploded into arguably the best sophomore college basketball player, ranking fourth in the nation in scoring and first in player efficiency rating (PER).

“The big priority for me in the offseason was to become a better all-around player physically,” Murray said. “I gained 15 pounds and was able to increase my vertical leap. I was [6-foot-8], 205 pounds entering college. I grew to about 6-9 and around 220-225 pounds, which helped a lot.”

Murray started this season projected as a first-round pick, but quickly proved to be one of the NBA’s top prospects in all of college basketball, as a 6-9 forward with a skill set. modern design and exceptional versatility at both ends of the floor. He shot 40% on 3-pointers this season, was second in the nation in transition thanks to his ability to push the ball aggressively out of the defensive glass, and proved capable of punishing smaller players inside the post. . Perhaps most interesting from an NBA perspective is how he’s defended everywhere for Iowa, whether it’s leading the top of the Hawkeyes’ full-court press, moving to smaller players in pick-and-roll coverage or put a body on centers inside the paint.

“Before coming to Iowa, I always played on the wing,” Murray said. “It was my first time playing 4s and 5s. We were small in the Big Ten. I will do whatever it takes to win because of my skill. This year I needed to play 5s. I feel like in the NBA I can play 2-5. I can adapt to any position I’m put in.

“I can’t wait to show NBA teams my versatility on both ends of the court. I’m a lot more athletic than people realize. I’m as competitive a player as you will make it. It doesn’t show from my facial expressions but I love basketball and competing every night has been a blessing to me I’m not worried about where I’ll be drafted I want to be in the best possible situation and play for a team that values ​​my game and understands what I can excel at.”

The NBA draft will be held May 16-22 in Chicago, and the draft will be June 23 in Brooklyn, New York.