Kris Murray discusses NBA Draft process after returning to Iowa men’s basketball

The forward said he learned valuable skills while testing the NBA Draft waters during a virtual press conference Thursday. Murray said the draft process will help him in 2022-23 with the Hawkeyes.


Grace Smith

Iowa forward Kris Murray goes up for a layup during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Indiana at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers, 83-74. Murray shot 12-18 in field goals.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

Though Iowa men’s basketball forward Kris Murray removed his name from the 2022 NBA Draft on Wednesday,  Murray said he received valuable feedback on his game throughout the draft process when he met with reporters Thursday. 

Murray announced he would return to Iowa City for his junior season on Wednesday after he declared for the draft on April 14 while maintaining his eligibility. During the process, Murray trained in Chicago with his twin brother and probable NBA lottery pick, Keegan Murray, per the Des Moines Register

“It was a lot different from just college workouts because it’s more NBA and kind of different skills that the NBA has and different terminologies,” Murray said Thursday. “So, there’s a lot of different things I took away from them. From day one when I got there, to day two, I improved a lot. The person who was working us out noticed it too, and even though I might not be able to see it myself, others noticed, and I thought that helped my confidence a lot.” 

While Murray noted NBA personnel showed interest and he considered staying in the draft, he chose to return to Iowa City in a decision he called “probably the biggest one in my life.”

RELATED: Kris Murray returning to Iowa men’s basketball for junior season

After tallying eight points in 13 contests in his freshman season, Murray took a big step forward during his sophomore year. In 35 games, he improved to 9.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, the most of any Hawkeye off the bench in the 2021-22 season in either of those categories. 

The former Cedar Rapids Prairie High School prep demonstrated his talents beyond the arc as he posted a .387 3-point percentage — the second-best mark on last year’s team. 

With Keegan Murray no longer taking up a spot as a starting forward, there’s a chance that Kris could be a regular starter in the 2022-23 campaign. 

Kris said he learned skills during the draft process that will help him perform well next year for the Hawkeyes. 

“Just a lot of mental stuff of basketball and just thinking through a play,” Murray said. “But just on the court, I learned more like active catches, which is being able to make quick decisions, split-second decisions, pass, shoot, drive, that will help me out a lot this year. Something that I lacked last year was making quick decisions.” 

The Hawkeyes won’t compete in their next official game until November, yet Murray said they have high expectations for themselves. He said they’re striving to build off the 2022 Big Ten Tournament Championship team. 

Though Keegan Murray, along with guards Jordan Bohannon and Joe Toussaint, are no longer with the program, Iowa has maintained some key student-athletes.

Redshirt junior forward Patrick McCaffery is the leading returning scorer at 10.5 points per game, while guard Connor McCaffery is back for his sixth season after fulfilling a valuable bench role in 2021-22. Guards Tony Perkins, Payton Sandfort, Ahron Ulis, and forward Filip Rebraca will all be back in the Black and Gold next year as well. 

Before the 2021-22 season, Keegan Murray was showered with high expectations, and the probable top-5 NBA Draft pick delivered. Now, it’s Kris’s time to shine as he attempts to fill his brother’s void. 

“I think you got to be excited for it,” Murray said of his opportunity next season. “Just because it’s a great situation to be in. It’s better than having low expectations, or not being seen as a breakout player, but it’s something that I feel good about myself and my game, and I’m excited for the pressure, the high expectations, everything that comes with it.”