Murray twins prepared to compete together in second year with Iowa men’s basketball

After the departure of three starters, Iowa men’s basketball sophomore forwards Keegan and Kris Murray are ready to step up.


Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register

Kris Murray and Keegan Murray stand for a photo during Iowa Men’s basketball media day at Carver Hawkeye Arena, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

Iowa men’s basketball lost three starters at the end of the 2020-21 season, including consensus national player of the year Luka Garza, forward Joe Wieskamp, and guard CJ Fredrick.

This season, several players will need to step up to fill the holes in Iowa’s lineup — including sophomore forward Keegan Murray.

Murray was the Hawkeyes’ sixth man last season and he displayed his confidence on the floor. The 6-foot-8-inch sophomore averaged 7.7 points per game, shooting over 50 percent from the floor.

Murray also flashed his defensive skills in 555 total minutes in 2020-21, as he was third on the Hawkeyes’ roster with 158 rebounds and second with 26 steals.

The sophomore still felt as if he was pushed around on the floor in 2020-21, so he gained around 20 pounds during the offseason. While Murray weighed in at 205 pounds in 2020-21, he is 225 pounds preceding the 2021-22 season.

“He’s a confident kid and nothing really seems to rattle him at all,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “He’s very focused and works hard in the offseason, and really has an understanding of how to play.”

Murray’s skills were on display in the Hawkeyes’ 99-47 exhibition win over Slippery Rock on Nov. 5. The sophomore bagged 17 points and five rebounds, as well as two blocks in 17 minutes of action.

RELATED: New-look Iowa men’s basketball team dominates Slippery Rock in exhibition

After a strong freshman season, Murray is excited for the step up in his second season. But, after taking advice from Wieskamp, Murray is trying to keep his peace of mind in 2021-22.

“I talked to Joe about his transition to his second year since he had a great second year, and he said he put a lot of pressure on himself,” Keegan Murray said. “I want to keep a good mentality and not putting as much pressure on myself that I could put on.”

Hawkeye sophomore Kris Murray, Keegan’s twin brother, did not get much time on the court last season. Kris Murray saw time in 13 games for a total of 41 minutes, totaling eight points and eight rebounds in 2020-21.

But Kris Murray is set for more time this season — he contributed four points and three rebounds in almost eight minutes of action against Slippery Rock.

Keegan and Kris Murray have a similar build and skill set. The two are constantly battling in practice. As twins, the pair also has a competitive aura about them.

“Going against him in practice, I just want to be better than him, ” Keegan Murray said. “It is just the competitive nature of us both, since we want to be better than each [other] on that day.”

The duo has played together for 21 years, including time in high school basketball at Cedar Rapids Prairie, and their previous school, DME Sports Academy, in Florida. So, the two have strong communication on the court.

“It’s going to be really fun. We’re really excited because we know each other’s game,” Kris Murray said. “We’ve played with each other so long and we have a great relationship, so you are going to see that on the court.”