Iowa men’s basketball notebook: Kris Murray ready to join his brother in the spotlight; Some NIL talk
By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa men’s basketball fans became well-acquainted with Keegan Murray last season.
And while fans may know of Keegan Murray’s identical twin brother Kris Murray, they know little about him as a player.
Kris Murray watched from the sidelines as Keegan Murray quickly became a key contributor as a freshman for Iowa during the 2020-21 season.
On Tuesday, Kris Murray compared his Iowa career up to this point to the beginning of his high school career at Cedar Rapids Prairie.
“Coming into it, I kind of knew I would be taking a learning year, so it wasn’t hard at all,” Kris Murray said. “It was very similar to high school. My sophomore year I didn’t play at all. Then, my junior year, I started and played a lot more and got a lot of confidence in myself from my sophomore year just playing a little bit. I think last year was a pretty similar situation to that. I just took it to learn from the older guys. I think it was good for me.”
Kris Murray, who stands 6-foot-8 just like his brother, played just 41 total minutes and scored eight points in 13 games last season, while Keegan Murray played in all 31 games with four starts and was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman team.
Keegan and Kris are the sons of former Hawkeye Kenyon Murray who played at Iowa from 1993-96.
After graduating from Prairie, the Murray twins spent a post-graduate year at DME Sports Academy in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Though he didn’t play much, Kris Murray found ways to contribute off the court.
“Him being on the sidelines really helped me,” Keegan Murray said. “Because he saw something different than I would see on the court. I think that really helped me. He didn’t really have an ego at all. He took the year as an opportunity to get better.”
A big part of Kris Murray’s contribution was as a scout team player in which he mimicked opposing players and was responsible for learning the opposing team’s offense.
“It was something that I was grateful to have just from the learning experience on scout team,” Kris Murray said. “I got to learn a lot of different offenses in the Big Ten. I got to play a bunch of different players that had different skillsets and I kind of took that and translated it to my game. It’s going to help a lot this coming year.”
Now, with National Player of the Year Luka Garza moving on the the professional ranks, guard Joe Wieskamp seemingly forgoing his senior season to enter the NBA Draft and the transfers of C.J. Fredrick and Jack Nunge, a door has opened for Kris Murray to step into a contributing role for a team that has to replace nearly 54 points per game.
“Next year I’m really excited for people to see my game,” Kris Murray said. “We have a really talented roster – a lot of length, a lot of versatility.”
NIL Talk: As of July 1, NCAA student-athletes will be able to profit off of their name, image, and likeness after a unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
One of the most outspoken athletes has been sixth-year guard Jordan Bohannon, who Kris Murray said has been a huge help in learning about the new opportunity presented.
“I think it’s a great way for people to brand themselves and reach out to members of the community and see how they can help,” Kris Murray said. “I think it’s a next step in the NCAA developing. I think Jordan being on our team, being how outspoken he is, has really helped us all learn about it.”
Keegan Murray said that while he is excited for the opportunity, he isn’t going to jump at every opportunity presented to him.
“I think I need to learn more about it,” Keegan Murray said. “I don’t really want to jump right in to NIL and just jump at every opportunity I get, I want to be able to manage myself and have the best image I can have on everyone else.”
Ash talks scholarship: Redshirt senior guard Austin Ash looked at his options as a graduate transfer after last season.
But when Iowa coach Fran McCaffery offered Ash a scholarship, Ash had hard time saying declining.
I definitely thought my run was coming to an end here at Iowa,” Ash said. “I started to pursue some options elsewhere and a couple things fell through the cracks. Coach McCaffery called me, got a scholarship offer, so it was kind of a no-brainer to come back and give one last go around with everything.”
Ash, a native of Cedar Rapids, has scored 42 points in 27 games during his Iowa career.