Kris Murray met with the media virtually Wednesday. The Iowa forward recently declared for the NBA Draft.
You went through this last year. You kind of know what this process is like. What kind of advantage does it give you this time around?
Kris Murray: Yeah, it’s definitely familiar territory for me just going through that last year. I obviously learned a lot. Being able to follow Keegan through this process helped a lot, too. So this year, I know that there’s just one goal in mind, and it’s to be able to get drafted this year. So I try to work hard every single day, just try and make it a really tough two months for me because I know I can get better from it.
When you look back at shared paths here at Iowa, what were some things that you’re proud of in terms of the advancement of your game? And why did you feel like now was the time to enter the draft?
Kris Murray: I feel like this year I was able to show just a lot of different things in my game; that I can be able to kind of take over games, kind of lead our team in different ways, whether it be offensively making a play defensively or just making the right play. I think that’s come a long way.
My confidence, obviously, has gotten a lot better this year, just being able to work through my mistakes and knowing that coach trusted me to play through my mistakes and when to take me out. So that helped a lot, just knowing that everyone had my back this year. Confidence was the biggest thing as to why I have success this year.
I know you don’t want to talk about injuries during the season, but did the foot injury that you suffered in December slow you down or how did you feel like you bounced back from that?
Kris Murray: It took me a little bit to get ready and to get my game rhythm back from that because I was sitting out for a little while. It didn’t really affect me towards the end of the season at all. There’s obviously fatigue you get with a five-, six-month long season like you have in college. And that thing is up to par. But there’s no excuse at all to how how I was the end of the season. But, no, I don’t think it really affected me.
Can you speak a little bit about how much maybe Keegan’s success with the Kings this year helped inform your decision a little bit? Has he helped you a lot in making this decision to enter the league this year?
Kris Murray: I kinda knew this year was kind of going to be my last year and that I was going to eventually enter into the NBA Draft. But Keegan has helped me a lot, just just seeing how he’s been playing, just hearing him tell me stories, just things that he’s learned throughout the season. Going through this process last year with him helped a lot; being able to watch him get drafted and go through summer league training camp and all those things. So he’s he’s definitely helped me a lot going into this process again, and throughout the season.
What from your pre-draft experience last year do you know that’s going to help you in the next two months? And just in general from from Keegan’s experience and from your observations and knowledge, what do you know about the NBA that maybe you didn’t know, a year ago?
Kris Murray: I think for your first question, just last year, I was kind of up in the air about what I was going to do, come back or stay in the draft. But this year I have one goal set in mind. I know kind of what it takes to prepare yourself for that moment, to get drafted and play into the summer league. So it definitely helped a lot last year.
I would say the biggest thing is just identifying your role early. Keegan was really able to do that with the Kings and kind of carve out his role on that team and be a professional in that role. I think the way he’s carried himself since he’s been professional has been really admirable for him, just because he treats it like a job, a job that he has fun with and is excited to go to every single day. I mean, that’s kind of where I learned a lot about it. I know I have the skill set to be able to play in the NBA. It’s really the mindset that you got to bring it every single time because in reality, like people are fighting for the jobs, vying for position and just fighting for success in their lives.
Not too many Hawkeyes have really been in the NBA historically. You’re going to be one of the few. What does it mean to represent the state and the university in the NBA?
Kris Murray: It means a lot, especially being a Hawkeye. It’s something I dreamed about being my entire life growning up in Cedar Rapids. After my senior, I didn’t know if I would play college basketball, barely have many looks, many opportunities after that. So to have this opportunity is really cool.
You were one of the co-winners of the Chris Street Award. You’re named after Chris Street. What did that moment mean to you to get that award from Mike and Patty (Street)?
Kris Murray: It meant a lot being his namesake and growing up with the story behind him with everything that came out this year with the documentary. Mike and Patty come to a lot of our games. So it was really special. We were sitting at the same table so it was really cool. My parents were getting really teary-eyed. Mike and Patti a little bit. It was really just a special moment between our families.
As far as the pre-draft process, where are you at? Have you started working out? Are you kind of crafting a game plan for yourself? And what are you hoping to accomplish? Maybe body composition wise or skill wise before the combine?
Kris Murray: I’m just kind of refining my skill set. I’ve been working out for the last couple of weeks on different facets of my game that I need to work on. I’m going to try to gain strength for the NBA. That’s obviously big factor, the physicality of the game, as you’ve kind of seen in these playoffs. You’re getting away with a lot. Going to Sacramento and seeing that first-hand was really cool. I’m just working out until the draft, just getting better every day. That’s just my goal. Just one day at a time.
You’ve had a lot of transition periods in your basketball life going from Prairie down to Florida then to Iowa and to the NBA draft prep last year and back to Iowa. How have all those transition periods helped you? Could you characterize this one, changing your game from going from a team game in Iowa and in the Big Ten to a very individual game trying to hone your own craft?
Kris Murray: I think definitely moving around a lot and just having different types of scenery will kind of help me in this process. And until next year, wherever I’m fortunate to play it, I’m definitely taking this time period to just redefine my skill set, just take a step back and just really evaluate my game to see how I can get better. So it’s definitely gonna be a fun process, a challenging process. I’ve been looking forward to it.
I know you came back wanting to be a first-rounder. Do you feel like the information you’re receiving you’ve played yourself into that area based on the feedback you’ve had and what is kind of your goal to where you want to get picked?
Kris Murray: First-round was obviously the goal coming back. I think I played myself into that. I just want to go to a team that just fits me the best on and off the court. I’ll know more of what that entails the more I go through this process. But coming back that was my goal. I wanted to have team success first, just be able to have a year back at Iowa, get better, be able to play in front of our awesome fans one last time. I think it was a special here for myself and our team just kind of the things that we went through and overcame adversity.
So you talk about those workouts and that you’ve been working out, but have you been doing anything differently? And then are you getting any hints from any teams so far?
Kris Murray: I’ve just been taking these workouts. They’re tough. We go multiple times a day. And I’m putting more stress on my body than I did last year just because it’s gonna take a lot to be able to play in the NBA. And we’re just getting ready for that right now. And NBA teams, I haven’t talked to many. We’ll see like towards the combine. Probably that will entail a little bit more.
You’ve mentioned redefining your skill set. What does that mean?
Kris Murray: Just sharpening everything up, my ball handling, my catch-and-shoot. That’s a big thing. Just catch and shoot and just be able to read defenders on the fly. Just kind of take a step back, see kind of what the things I could get better at, just little by little every single day. And it takes a complete game to be able to play an NBA and have success. So that’s kind of what I’ve been doing is just training like an NBA player.
Do you expect to go through the entire combined process?
Kris Murray: We’ll see. I still have to decide what I’m doing for that. Might do it all. We’ll see.
You’re gonna get comparison questions to your brother. I know you’re used to that. What would your answer be in terms of how your game would be different at the next level than his if at all?
Kris Murray: I just think towards the end of the season I kind of showed that could be a little bit more of a playmaker. I know that I can be, coming off ball screens, making a play for others. It’s doing different things like that. So I think that’s definitely a difference between us. Keegan is a really good catch-and-shoot shooter. He he’s been playing his role really well this year. But I think I can bring just that different element to an NBA team.