Former Iowa men’s basketball player Kris Murray leaning on last year’s experience to prepare for NBA Draft

Murray went through the NBA pre-draft process last summer before returning to Iowa City.


Matt Sindt

Iowa forward Kris Murray fights through Auburn players during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Auburn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday, March 16, 2023. The Tigers defeated the Hawkeyes, 83-75.

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor

Former Iowa men’s basketball player Kris Murray declared for the NBA Draft on April 7. As he prepares for the June draft, he is leaning on last summer’s experience of going through the pre-draft process before returning to Iowa City.

In 2022, Murray went through workouts with his twin brother and former Hawkeye Keegan Murray before the draft but ultimately decided to return to college for one more season. Keegan Murray was selected No. 4 overall by the Sacramento Kings.

“It’s definitely familiar territory for me just having gone through that last year,” Kris Murray said of draft prep. “I obviously learned a lot, and being able to kind of follow Keegan through this process helped a lot, too … I know what it takes to prepare yourself for that moment, to get drafted, play in the summer league.”

Last summer, Kris Murray received valuable feedback about his game from NBA teams, and he made a big jump in both minutes and production for the Hawkeyes.

Kris Murray averaged just under 10 points per game in less than 18 minutes per contest as he came off the bench during the 2021-22 season. In 2022-23, he doubled both of those figures, scoring 20.2 points per night in nearly 35 minutes — both top-five on the Big Ten.

“I feel like this year I was able to show just a lot of different things in my game,” Kris Murray said. “Just that I can be able to kind of take over games kind of lead our team in different ways whether it be offensively, making a play defensively, or just making the right play.”

Kris Murray said multiple times in the past his goal when he entered the draft was to be a first-round selection. Last season, he returned to college partially because he was projected to be selected in the second round in the 2022 draft.

With another year of college ball under his belt and the massive jump in production, he said he is confident he’ll be one of the first 30 names off the board on June 22.

“First round was obviously the goal coming back,” Kris Murray said. “And I think I’ve played myself into that … I wanted to have team success first, have a year back at Iowa, get better, play in front of our awesome fans one last time.”

Kris Murray said he has been preparing for the draft and draft combine on May 16-18 in Chicago by working out multiple times per day and refining his game.

“I’m putting more stress on my body than I did last year because it’s going to take a lot to play in the NBA, and we’re getting ready for that right now,” Kris Murray said. “[I’m] just sharpening everything up. My ball handling, my catch-and-shoot, that’s a big thing, just being able to catch-and-shoot. Being able to read defenders on the fly.”

Kris Murray said he has taken this time to reflect on his whole game.

“Just kind of take a step back, see the things I could get better at little by little every single day,” he said. “It takes a complete game to be able to play in the NBA and have success, so that’s what I’ve been doing, just training like an NBA player.”

In mock drafts, Kris Murray has been slotted everywhere from No. 14 to the Pelicans to an early second-round selection.