Iowa men’s basketball forward Keegan Murray declares for 2022 NBA Draft

Murray led the Power Five in scoring in 2021-22, pouring in 23.5 points per game. He earned consensus first-team All-America honors for his efforts.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa forward Keegan Murray attempts a fadeaway during a men’s basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena between No. 25 Iowa and Michigan State on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. Murray led Iowa in scoring with 28 points. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans, 86-60.

Chloe Peterson and Austin Hanson

Iowa men’s basketball sophomore Keegan Murray is declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft, he announced Monday on Twitter.

Murray, the men’s basketball program’s fourth first-team consensus All-American, had a breakout season in 2021-22, averaging 23.5 points per game — fourth in the nation. He leads Division I men’s basketball with a 37.8 player efficiency rating.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore is currently on a bevy of postseason award lists. He is one of four finalists for the Naismith Player of the Year Award. He is also on the Wooden Award national ballot and a finalist for Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year, Lefty Driesell Defensive Player of the Year, Lute Olson Player of the Year.

Murray averaged 7.2 points per game his freshman season in 2020-21. His 16.3-point per game difference between his freshman and sophomore seasons is the largest from a Big Ten player since 1974, when Illinois’ Rick Schimidt achieved the feat.

“I feel it’s just credit to hard work,” Murray said on a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday. “I feel like hard work can really take you wherever you imagine yourself being. This was my dream growing up as a kid. And I just credit that to my parents putting me in the best position possible to succeed. Obviously, my brother pushing me, our battles one-on-one.”

RELATED: ‘A built-in best friend:’ Identical twins Keegan and Kris Murray living their Iowa basketball dream together

In ESPN’s latest mock NBA Draft, analyst Johnathan Givony’s projected Murray to be picked fifth overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Bleacher Report also has Murray going fifth in the draft. The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 23. Draft lottery positioning will be determined on May 17.

Murray is now eligible to participate in the 2022 NBA Draft Combine, which will be held in Chicago May 16-22. Murray said he has not yet signed with an agent or decided where he will train for the combine.

“We are excited for Keegan as he begins his professional journey,” head coach Fran McCaffery said via release. “He has earned the right to be a lottery pick. Keegan is incredibly professional and even keeled with everything he does. Not only did Keegan accomplish things no other Hawkeye underclassman has ever done, but he also represented our program at the highest-level. We fully support Keegan and will assist him every way we can throughout the draft process.”

Murray will be the third Hawkeye to enter the NBA Draft in two years. Former Hawkeyes Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza went through the draft process in 2021. Wieskamp was picked 41st overall to the San Antonio Spurs, and Garza was the 52nd pick to the Detroit Pistons.

Murray, who hails from Cedar Rapids, joined the Hawkeye men’s basketball program ahead of the 2020-21 season. He and his identical twin brother, Kris Murray, didn’t have many Division I offers out of high school, so they spent one year at DME Sports Academy in Daytona, Florida, before returning to Iowa.

Keegan and Kris Murray have played on the same team throughout their lives. Now, as Keegan leaves for the NBA and Kris remains at Iowa, the pair will be separated for the first time.

“I mean, you have to go away from each other at some point,” Keegan said. “So, we are 21 years old, so I guess this is an opportunity for that. But he’ll be ready. I know that he kind of wants the ball in his hands more than it was this year. So, I think nothing but confidence in him.”

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