Keegan Murray, Iowa’s consensus All-American and first-team all-Big Ten forward, has declared for the 2022 NBA Draft.
The do-everything forward put together an all-time season for the Hawks, averaging 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.9 blocks per game, while putting together 55/40/75 shooting splits. The season is, simply put, the best season I’ve ever seen from an Iowa player, and that’s coming off back-to-back supernova seasons from Luka Garza in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
His averages don’t do the season justice, as he scored 822 points on the year, easily passing the mark Garza set as the single-season record just a season ago. His season rose to a Kevin Durant level. I’m not kidding:
Keegan Murray has 782 points, 66 blocked shots and 63 3-pointers this season. Murray joins Kevin Durant (2006-07) as the only two underclassmen over the last 30 years with 700+ points, 50+ blocks, and 50+ 3-pointers in a single season.— David Eickholt (@DavidEickholt) March 13, 2022
And even THOSE numbers don’t do this season justice. Murray led the nation in field goals made (307), PER (37.8), Win Shares (8.7), Offensive Win Shares (6.6), Win Shares per 40 Minutes (.311), Box Plus/Minus (15.7), and Offensive Box Plus/Minus (13.0). His Offensive Rating of 134.6 led the Big Ten. The PER number is the best in a season for a college player since 2009-10 not named Zion Williamson. He was an analytics superstar in every single regard. Just check this Basketball Reference page out and try not to be impressed. Somehow, this wasn’t enough for him to win Big Ten Player of the Year.
For Iowa, it cannot be overstated how good this is for the long-term health of the program. Iowa hasn’t had a player drafted in the first round since Ricky Davis in 1998 (21st overall) and hasn’t had a player drafted in the top 10 since Ronnie Lester in 1980 (10th overall). The stigma that Iowa doesn’t get guys to the NBA will be blown to bits, as Keegan will be the fourth player Iowa has put in the NBA since 2019, joining Tyler Cook, Joe Wieskamp, and Garza. Keegan will do so as a top 5-10 pick. He’s projected in that range by nearly every draft board of merit out there. He will be a lottery pick, and that is great for the health of the Iowa program.
Godspeed, Keegan Murray.