Keegan was a Late Bloomer
Every player drafted in the top 5 of the 2022 NBA Draft not named Keegan Murray was ranked in the ESPN Top 100 of their respective high school classes. The top 2 overall picks, Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren were ranked 1st and 4th, respectively, while third overall pick Jabari Smith sat at 6th.
Murray on the other hand, was not ranked in the top 100 or top 200. That, however, did not stop Murray from working on his game and transforming himself into one of the best players on one of the best teams in college basketball.
After finishing high school ranked 334 in the nation, Murray spent a year at DME Academy in Florida, where he put up 22.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He then began his career at Iowa by averaging 7.2 points his freshman year, including a 27-point, 21-rebound outing where he became the first Hawkeye to post a 20-20 game since Bruce King in 1977. His averages jumped to 23.5 points and 8.7 boards as a sophomore, a clear indication of Murray’s strong work ethic and dedication to improving his craft. At just 21 years old, the 6-foot-8 forward has plenty of room to grow.
His Last Season at Iowa was Statistically Off the Charts
Keegan Murray made it abundantly clear during his sophomore season at Iowa that he was one of the nation’s best hoopers by having, according to Synergy Sports, one of the three best seasons by a volume scorer ever. Just check out some of his accomplishments:
- Led all of College Basketball in Total Points (822)
- Led all power conference players in PPG (23.6)
- Led the country in win shares (8.7)
- Led the country in plus/minus (15.7)
- Finished Top 5 in the Big Ten in BPG (1.9) and RPG (8.7)
- Shot 55% from the field and nearly 40% from deep
- Joined Kevin Durant as one of two players in college basketball history with 800-plus points, 60-plus 3-pointers and 60-plus blocks in one season
Keegan is a Sneaky Good Defender
GM Monte McNair mentioned Murray’s defensive prowess as one of the reasons the Kings drafted the young forward, and the numbers support that notion.
As a sophomore, Murray logged the seventh-best defensive rating (96.8), the third-best block percentage (6.4), and the 13th-best steal percentage (2.3) in arguably the best conference in college basketball, the Big Ten. He stands at 6-8 but boasts a 6-foot-11 wingspan. This bodes well for Murray’s ability to guard on the perimeter, and he showed throughout his time at Iowa that he could handle the bumps and physicality of playing down low. Off the bat, he’s looking like a guy that will be able to come in and not only grab boards and block shots, but also guard multiple positions.
Keegan Comes from a Family of Athletes
Keegan Murray has All-American DNA. His mother, Michelle, was a multi-sport varsity athlete in high school before becoming an All-American on the Division-III level, while his father, Kenyon, was an All-American basketball player at Iowa.
Before becoming a Hawkeye, Murray was named Mr. Basketball of Michigan, an award bestowed upon the likes of Glen Rice (1985), Robert Traylor (1995), Shane Battier (1997), Jason Richardson (1999) and former Kings legend Chris Webber (1991).
Keegan Grew Up Playing Hoops Alongside his Twin Brother, Kris
From AAU to high school to college, Murray has had the rare opportunity to play on the same team as his twin brother Kris. While Keegan averaged 22.1 points and 7.5 rebounds at DME Academy, Kris was right there, putting up big numbers himself (17.1 points, 10.1 rebounds). And while Kris held down a smaller role during their time together at Iowa, he too saw his game develop significantly between his freshman and sophomore years. Now that Keegan has moved on to the NBA, Kris steps into a larger role at Iowa, with expectations that his game will take another step forward. He’s currently ranked in the top 30 of several 2023 NBA Draft Big Boards.