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Can Iowa’s Keegan Murray cut it in the NBA? 

To suggest that the last few months have been anything but a whirlwind for Keegan Murray would be somewhat misleading what with the soon-to-be 22-year-old having been drafted to the NBA but just how good is the young Power Forward? 

Will he be able to stand up in the league and soon be part of the NBA betting lines for Rookie of the Season? Here we take a look at all things Keegan Murray and give you our judgment on whether or not he will make the grade in the NBA. Let’s get cracking.

The early life of Keegan Murray

So much of an athlete’s potential success or failure can come down to mentality. As such, it’s important not to overlook the early years of their life with those periods quite often proving to be core blocks of their mental development. 

For Murray, his formative years were spent with his mum, Michelle, his father, Kenyon and, of course, his twin brother, Kris, who is also on a pathway towards the NBA and his sister, McKenna, who is a few years younger. Pretty much all of Murray’s life has been spent in Cedar Rapids with just two years prior to that in Ottumwa. That is a pretty ordinary family makeup. What is slightly less ordinary is that his parents adopted a third teenage boy; he goes by the name of Demetrius Harper.

What all of this shows is that Murray grew up in a loving and stable home where his folks tried to do right; that’s a big quality to have! As for his sporting prowess, Murray’s father used to work in the field of basketball development and coaching. He was also a tidy player in the college system sinking over 1,200 points for Iowa back in the day! Obviously, growing up around those sorts of things is beneficial to your own game with Murray having spent plenty of time shooting hoops as a kid.

The High School and College years

High School 

Murray attended his local high school, Prairie in Cedar Rapids,   where he was the star player posting impressive stats in his senior year; after averaging 20-plus points and a mighty 7.2 rebounds per game he was named the schools Player of the Year. Despite that, his family still had doubts about whether or not he was going to make the grade. With those doubts in their mind, they made the decision to send him to the only recently established DME Academy based in Daytona Beach.

DME Academy 

For a family oriented lad who had spent his whole life in Cedar Rapids it was a huge deal to move nearly 1300 miles away; it proved well worth it though. During his time in Florida Murray improved his game both via ‘the eyeball test’ and statistically. He posted 22.1 points and 7.5 points per game; they’re not massive jumps on his High School numbers but it’s important to remember Murray was stepping up into a tougher tier of basketball too – most people would see a dip. It was a sign of more progress; Murray was recognised with outstanding player honours.

College 

When it was time to commit to a college, the decision was an easy one for Murray; he opted to return to Iowa where he was offered a scholarship by Fran McCaffery. McCaffery was probably sticking his neck out a little but it proved a master stroke. During his first year at Iowa, Murray was heavily involved in games but only made four starts averaging 18 minutes per game; he put up 7.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. 

Come year two, Murray’s involvement skyrocketed. He not only featured in 35 games but he started everyone of them and saw his time on the floor jump to 32 minutes. Every one of Murray’s key performance stats improved with the exception of his free throw percentage, which dropped from 75.5% to 74.7%. 

As for his other stats, Murray sank 23.5 points per game shooting 55% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc. On top of scoring points, he also trebles his assists to 1.5 per game whilst jumps were also seen in his rebounds (8.7), steals (1.3) and blocks (1.9). 

Murray was made an All-American, scooped the Karl Malone award and was named the Big Ten Tournament MVP. It was proof that all his hard work to this point had been worth it. 

The future

In the recent NBA draft, Murray went as the fourth overall pick joining the Sacramento Kings. Murray has constantly shown an ability to adapt to higher levels with improvements seen across High School, the DME Academy and then college. 

There is little reason to doubt that he won’t do the same again as he takes to the NBA.

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