Kings General Manager Monte McNair speaks on drafting Keegan Murray

McNair spoke with media members following Thursday’s draft. The Kings picked Murray No. 4 overall.


Dimia Burrell

Iowa forward Keegan Murray dunks a ball during a men’s basketball game between No. 5 Iowa and No. 4 Rutgers in the Big Ten Basketball Tournament quarterfinals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Friday, March 11, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 84-74. Murray finished with 26 points, becoming Iowa’s record holder for single-season scoring.

Chris Werner, Summer Sports Editor

Roughly four hours after the Sacramento Kings took former Iowa men’s basketball star Keegan Murray with the fourth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft Thursday night, Kings General Manager Monte McNair discussed the selection with reporters both in-person and via zoom. 

Sacramento kept their pick and took Murray despite rumors the Kings may trade the pick. 

“I think at the end of the day, with the fourth pick after exploring our options, we felt extremely comfortable that the best player available was Keegan Murray,” McNair said. “We are extremely excited to welcome Keegan to the Kings family.

McNair noted Murray’s all-around game and versatility when discussing what he can bring to the floor. 

“Keegan is an extremely well-rounded player, a two-way player, one of the most prolific scorers in the country. Blocks, steals, rebounds; impacts the game in so many ways,” McNair said. “We talked about versatility. Somebody who can play inside and out on offense, somebody who can guard multiple positions on the defensive end, and somebody who was one of the best players on one of the best teams in the country all year long.”

RELATED: Former Iowa men’s basketball player Keegan Murray picked No. 4 overall by Sacramento Kings in 2022 NBA Draft

Murray’s 38.2 player efficiency rating was the highest in the NCAA last year and he led the Hawkeyes in both points and rebounds. 

Murray’s 23.5 points per game ranked fourth in the country and he became the second player in NCAA history, along with Kevin Durant, to score 800 points, record 60 blocks, and make 60 3-pointers in a single season. 

McNair also credited both Murray himself and the Iowa men’s basketball program for developing the 6-foot-8 Cedar Rapids product from a bench player in 2020-21 to a first-team All-American and Wooden Award finalist just a year later. 

The Kings GM told the media that Murray was on Sacramento’s radar last season too. 

“Whether it was the program, Keegan, I’m sure a combination of all of it, I think we all know the year that Keegan had this year, and it was fantastic,” McNair said. “But Keegan is somebody that was on our radar last year even though he had a smaller role. The things he does on the court show up even in smaller samples and so, the fact that he took it to the heights he did this year is certainly a testament to him and the program.”

McNair pointed to the level of Murray’s growth from his freshman to sophomore year at Iowa as a source of confidence. He said Murray was able to go from a smaller role to the Hawkeyes’ “go-to-guy.”

Murray will play his first two NBA seasons on a  $16 million contract with team options for a third and fourth year. 

“[Keegan is an] incredible worker, incredible competitor, humble but confident off the court, universally loved teammate,” McNair said. “ … And then somebody who obviously checks all the production boxes, but our scouts see that he can continue to grow… As all those things line up and you keep checking those boxes, it just gives you so much confidence.”

Murray and McNair will hold an introductory press conference on Saturday. 

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