Keegan Murray has a chance to do something no Iowa player has achieved in two decades.
Iowa has not been selected in the first round of the NBA Draft since Ricky Davis finished 21st overall in 1998, and has not conducted a lottery selection since the system began operating in 1985. Murray could change that.
The 6-year-old sophomore scored 23.3 points per game and finished third among all Division I players, second only to Peter Keys of Bryant and Antoine Davis of Detroit Mercy. The variety of different ways he can kill is even more impressive than the numbers themselves.
“If you’re on the block all the time, we can find protection to stop you,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “If you’re constantly at the point, we can catch you, we can force you one way. If you’re always on the wing, we can keep you on one side and flood you. You can’t do that to him. Wherever it goes, it is equally effective. Very few people. “
That’s why very few players think they’ll get a draft ahead of Murray once he decides to become a pro.
Layout drafts suggest he could become Iowa’s first choice in the top 10 after Ronnie Leicester was selected 10th in 1980 after leading the Hawkeyes to their final appearance in the final four. Maryland interim coach Danny Manning has called Murray a lottery choice.
Murray’s ability to kill in almost any situation makes him so attractive.
“He’s the most versatile player in our league,” said Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg.
Heuberg made the comment after Murray scored 37 points in a 98-75 win over Nebraska. It came after Murray scored 30 points in a 110-87 triumph in Maryland, making him the first Iowa player to score at least 30 points in the Big Ten games after Matt Gaitens in 2012.
Murray’s scoring skill helped Iowa (17-7, 7-6 Big Ten) averaging 84 points and finish fourth among all Division I teams.
“If I miss, I feel like the next one will go,” Murray said. “I’m not at all ashamed to throw a basketball. I try to get to my seats, try to get into the paint as much as possible, look for open throws in the jump along the 3-point line.
SIZE: 6-8, 225 lbs
STATISTICS: 23.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1.4 steals, 1.1 assists per game
STRENGTHS: A great scorer who can score his points in a variety of ways, whether he’s around the basket or outside the 3-point arc.
WEAKNESSES: At the moment, his defense does not quite match the level of his attack.
DRAFT: He must be elected from the first 10 or 15 elections.
Other prospects around the Big Ten:
JOHNNY DAVIS, WISCONSIN: Davis, likely to win the lottery, scored the last 13 points in Wisconsin at number 15 when the Badgers rallied to win 74-69 in Indiana on Tuesday. The sophomore 6-5 finished the game with 30 points and 12 rebounds.
JADEN IVEY, FARDUE: Ivy is in the top five and will probably be the first selected player of the “Big Ten” if he wants to participate in the draft. The sophomore with a score of 6-4 is gaining an average of 17.4 points, 5 rebounds and 3.1 assists, going on Wednesday night in a match against the Newcastle, which ranks fifth in the Boilermakers rankings.
F. EDG LIDELL, Ohio: Liddell scored at least 16 points in six games in a row when expressing his arguments for consideration in the first round. Junior 6-7 is averaging 19.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
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