Interview: Kenyon Murray Proves "Once a Hawkeye, Always a Hawkeye"
Watching Iowa basketball in the early 1990s was a roller coaster of extreme ups and downs.
The low point came with the tragic death of Chris Street following a team dinner in 1993. The high point came when the Hawkeyes made it to the NCAA tournament in Chris Street's honor that same year.
During this period of Iowa basketball, several players made an impact. Players like Acie Earl, James Moses, Jess Settles, Andre Woolridge and Russ Millard all became household names throughout the state. These players were just fun to watch.
One of the most exciting players to step foot on the court for Iowa during this time was Kenyon Murray.
Murray came to Iowa as the reigning Mr. Basketball for the state of Michigan and played under Dr. Tom Davis from 1992 to 1996. While at Iowa, Murray compiled a very impressive career.
He played in all 122 games during his four-year career, starting 95 of them. With 1,230 points, Murray is 16th on Iowa's all-time scoring list. His 200 career steals has him sitting third all-time.
Murray still holds the Iowa record for most steals in a single game with nine against Ohio State in 1995.
After Iowa, Murray went on to play professional basketball in the CBA and IBL. In 1998, he was runner up for the league MVP, averaging 25 points, eight assists and eight rebounds a game.
After injuring his ankle, Murray traveled back to the states, where he started a family and pursued his interests in coaching and business.
In addition to his current position as Territory Manager for a company based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Murray now coaches freshman boys' basketball at Prairie High School and serves on several committees at the University of Iowa.
He recently found out he will also have another title to go by: Basketball Analyst for the Big Ten Network.
Murray will be calling six Iowa basketball games for the Big Ten Network this winter. He can be heard commentating during Big Ten games against Michigan State, Illinois and Northwestern.
As a result of the recent news, I recently caught up with Kenyon Murray for an email interview. With the help of Google and a few social networks, I was able to get a few questions over to Kenyon, who was more than willing to answer.
BF: You currently live in Cedar Rapids, IA with your wife and three children. How is the Cedar Rapids area treating you?
KM: We have been in the Cedar Rapids area since 2001 and it has treated us well. My wife has worked between St. Lukes and Mercy Hospital and our kids are in the Prairie (College Community) school district. I have a great network of friends here and don't see us moving any time soon.
BF: Can we expect your two twin sons to play basketball for the Hawkeyes some day?
KM: I hope so. Would mean the world to me if my boys decided to wear the Black & Gold. They are only in third grade, so we have some time.
BF: What was your favorite moment as an Iowa Hawkeye?
KM: Like many people, the MSU and Michigan games after Chris Street passed. We definitely had someone watching over us and it showed in how we were able to perform under those circumstances.
BF: You played basketball with the likes of Jess Settles and Andre Woolridge. Do you still keep in touch with any of them?
KM: I stay in touch with alot of my teammates. I regularly speak with Glasper (Monter), Bowen (Ryan), Koch (JR), Moore (Darryl), Skillett (Kevin), Millard (Russ), Bartels (Jim), Earl (Acie) and Barnes (Val).
BF: What's it like sharing the record for most steals in a game (9 steals, OSU '95) with Acie Earl?
KM: Well, I think mine was a little harder. Ha Ha. All he did was play "rover" at the back of our full court press. No, seriously, any time you get that many steals, you are doing a great job of anticipating on defense.
BF: You are still very active in the Hawkeye community and serve on a few committees at the University. While some are picking Iowa to finish toward the bottom of the Big Ten, no one really knows what to think about this year's team. What can we expect out of the Hawkeye basketball team this year?
KM: People will start to see Coach Lickliter's vision become a reality. The wins may not reflect the players development, but Coach L has the players that fit his system. We will be able to see the offense look to take the first "good" shot, even in transition. More importantly, the current players are able to teach the incoming players the system. That is how you build a winning program and Iowa will be back.
BF: Now that you are a color commentator for the Big Ten Network , can we expect you on Twitter any time soon like the rest of the BTN crew?
KM: I have too many things going on that aren't that important for people to follow. But "never say never"!
BF: You are the freshman boys' basketball coach at Cedar Rapids Prairie and have also coached a little at Indian Hills Community College in the past. You were a color analyst for WMT radio covering high school basketball games, as well. Is coaching basketball something you want to get more into in the future? Or do you want to go the commentator route now that the Big Ten Network opportunity has opened up?
KM: Coaching is something that comes natural and I love working with the Prairie kids. Watching my boys and my daughter grow up is more important to me and having flexible careers makes that much easier. As it pertains to commentating, I will just see where this leads me. If there are opportunities that arise, I will be open to them. The ability to take care of my family and stay around the game I love is a dream come true.
Murray's continued commitment to not only the University of Iowa, but to the state of Iowa as a whole, is greatly appreciated among the Hawkeye faithful. Kenyon proves that once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye.
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