Saturday, May 21, 2022

2022 NBA Draft: Iowa star Keegan Murray declares he is turning pro after breakout sophomore season

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USATSI

Iowa star forward Keegan Murray announced Tuesday that he is entering his name into the 2022 NBA Draft after earning first-team AP All-America honors during a standout sophomore season. Murray averaged 23.5 points and 8.7 rebounds this season while leading the Hawkeyes to a 26-10 record and Big Ten Tournament title.

“As a kid, I dreamed of playing in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and wearing the black and gold,” Murray wrote in a message posted to Twitter. “I am forever grateful that Coach McCaffrey gave me the opportunity to live out my dream. You believed in me when did, and you’re a big part of why I’m in this position today.”

Murray is the No. 11 prospect on Kyle Boone’s NBA Draft Big Board and considered a potential lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, which is set for June 23. The early-entry withdrawal date is June 13 this season, but it would be a surprise if Murray opted for a return to college. After logging 18 minutes per game off the bench as a freshman in 2020-21 while playing behind veteran bigs such as Luka Garza and Jack Nunge, Murray emerged as one of the sport’s top breakout stars this season.

The dynamic 6-8 forward began the season with six straight games of 20 or more points. He led the Big Ten in scoring and ranked fourth nationally in points per game. For a player who was considered just a three-star prospect in the Class of 2020, the breakout performance came as surprise to many. But signs of Murray’s potential were present even during his freshman season, and NBA scouts have taken notice of his meteoric rise over the past 18 months.

Murray’s positional versatility makes him a great fit for the modern NBA. Offensively, he can post up smaller defenders or beat bigger and slower defenders off the dribble. His 39.8% 3-point shooting percentage this season on 4.7 attempts per game are sign of his offensive versatility.

Murray will be trying to become the first Iowa player to be selected in the first round since Ricky Davis in 1998.

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