Keegan Murray Talks NBA Comparisons, Draft Hopes, Iowa Tenure in B/R AMA

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 15, 2022

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND - FEBRUARY 10:  Keegan Murray #15 of the Iowa Hawkeyes is introduced before  a college basketball game against the Maryland Terrapins at the XFinity Center on February 10, 2022 in College Park, Maryland.  Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton

In roughly one week's time, Iowa star Keegan Murray will watch his life change in a big way.

Murray is a virtual lock to be a top-10 selection in the 2022 NBA draft on June 23. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projected him to go fifth overall to the Detroit Pistons.

Ahead of the draft, the 6'8" forward stopped by for an AMA session with B/R readers. Among other topics, Murray talked about his time with the Hawkeyes, the NBA star to whom he compares his game and his expectations for the next step in his basketball career.

The following is most of the transcript from the AMA session.

@Kiran_Gamecock At what age did you really start grinding basketball?

I would probably say eighth grade because that’s when I quit baseball to focus on basketball. In Iowa, the summers were humid, so that kind of played a factor. I felt like that was the best opportunity.

@ColbyWrite2 Did you have a favorite player growing up ?

LeBron. I’ve always been a LeBron fan.

@Thunder14 How big of an impact has your dad had on you as a basketball player?

He has probably had the biggest impact on my basketball career. He has always been my coach in AAU. He has been my only trainer throughout my whole life, so he has played a big impact on me. He does a great job of separating coach from dad, so it has been really cool.

@DubabyFrance How did it feel to be named a consensus first-team All-American?

It was a really cool feeling. You don’t realize you’re in it until you get named. I saw Luka [Garza] win my freshman year, so it was a dream come true to do it myself in my second season.

@Officially_AC_33 What pushed you or what changes did you make to go from a role player to a superstar between your freshman and sophomore year? Was there something that clicked?

I was playing more of a role as a freshman because it really wasn’t my job to score. I trained really hard and fine-tuned my skills. It was more on the mental side, treating every game the same way. We had our end-of-the-season meeting after my freshman year where the coaches told me I would really be the go-to guy, so I went to work.

@Livhoops4 What is your friendship like with fellow Iowa star Caitlin Clark? Did you ever hop into pickup games with her?

She was my neighbor in my apartment building. We went out to L.A. for the finalist ceremony for the Wooden award. We haven’t played pickup or one-on-one, but she has been really good to me.

@Dezdroppedit What was it like with Fran [McCaffery] as HC? Are there any memorable 'fran-trums' (tantrums) that you can tell us about?

He was actually a really cool coach. You see him yelling and screaming, but that’s more at the refs. He’s a fiery coach. I think this year in a timeout, we were up by like 30 or 40 in a nonconference game. The team scored like back-to-back buckets or something like that and he went into the huddle and broke a clipboard in half, which was kind of funny but a learning moment to not take our foot off the gas.

@Khairi2715 Favorite Luka Garza memory?

In the preseason, both of our backup centers were out. For a two week stretch, it was me and my twin going against Luka in practice. That was kind of like a welcoming moment. I still have scars on my hand from Luka to this day. It was always a battle going against him.

@Ginobilians Do you have any superstitions?

Before the game, I always have to listen to a certain song and then I always have to knock the floor twice when I’m on the floor. It’s always the same song: "Street Runner" by Rod Wave.

@Chester99 People always are giving comparisons, but who do you think your own NBA comparison is?

I think it’s Khris Middleton. We’re kind of the same size. He’s not the most athletic guy in the world. I’m not the most athletic guy in the world, but he’s a guy I want to emulate my game after too. He rose from the G League, became an NBA champ and I went from unranked recruit to here I am today three years later, so I kind of feel like I resemble him in a way.

@Hagen93650352 What change are you most looking forward to with the transition from college ball to the NBA?

Probably the change of going against the guys you see on TV. Being a professional, living on your own, I’m just excited to venture out on my own.

@SacramentoProud Is there a specific player you’re really looking forward to going against?

LeBron, just because I’ve always admired him, so it would be cool to compete against them.

@GoodGekko With your skills and size, you’re pretty versatile but do you feel more comfortable at the 3 or 4 and why?

I’m honestly comfortable with both. I didn’t start posting up until I was at Iowa, so I feel like I’m comfortable at the wing, but I’m versatile enough to do both.

@TheBair123 If you could play for any NBA team (even outside of the ones who may select you), is there one in mind?

I’m just hoping for whatever to be honest.

@JacksonLevasseur All-time starting five?

Magic Johnson, Kobe, MJ, LeBron, Shaq.