When Kris Murray withdrew his name from the NBA draft last year — it was all but certain he’d be there in 2023. It was a simply kicking the can down the road to spend another lap around the sun in the Fran McCaffery oven.
“Last year I was kind of up in the air about what I was gonna do,” Murray said. “This year I have one goal set in my mind.”
But before it was clear, there was doubt in Kris’ mind whether he’d even play at the college level. He was just a three-star recruit coming out of DME Academy in Daytona, Florida.
“I mean after my senior year I didn’t even know if I would play college basketball,” Murray admitted. I didn’t really have many looks or many opportunities after that.”
But indeed he received an offer — along with his brother Keegan — to play for his father’s alma mater.
“It means a lot, especially being a Hawkeye. It’s something I’ve always dreamed about my entire life.”
Keegan Murray of course was drafted fourth overall by the Sacramento Kings last year. All he did was break Steph Curry’s rookie record for threes made in a season and was a part of the first Kings team to make the playoffs in nearly two decades. Kris and Keegan talk every day — and Kris has learned a thing or two about the league through Keegan’s experience.
“I learned a lot, and to be able to follow Keegan has helped me in this process too,” Murray said. “Being able to watch him get drafted, go through Summer League.”
And now it’s Kris’ turn. He declared for the NBA draft — and he ain’t coming back this time. It’s unlikely he gets selected as high as his brother Keegan, but he’s going to reach his goal: Get drafted in the first round.
“First round was obviously the goal coming back and I think I played myself into that,” Kris said.
Murray is projected to be a mid-first-round pick. He’s spent the last few months preparing for the NBA Draft Combine that begins on May 15. Kris has taken his workouts to another level, training harder than last year — multiple times a day.
“I’ve just been sharpening everything up,” Murray said. “It takes a complete game to be able to play in the NBA and have success and that’s kind of what I’ve been doing, just training like an NBA player.”
And surely, he’ll answer some obvious questions regarding his twin brother. But this isn’t anything new to Kris, he’s been dealing with them all year. His answer to NBA teams: The two are similar in facial structure — not in style of play.
“Towards the end of the season I showed I could be a little bit more of a playmaker,” Murray said. “I think that’s definitely the difference between us. Keegan’s a really good catch-and-shooter. I think I can just bring that different element to an NBA team.”