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Keegan Murray named power forward of the year

Keegan Murray has been named the recipient of the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award.
Keegan Murray has been named the recipient of the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award. (Associated Press)

NEW ORLEANS -- University of Iowa men’s basketball sophomore Keegan Murray has been named the recipient of the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award. The announcement was made by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Named after Class of 2010 Hall of Famer and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Karl Malone, the annual honor in its eighth year recognizes the top power forward in Division I men’s college basketball. He is the first Hawkeye and Big Ten player to earn the honor.

The Hawkeyes have had a player earn a national positional award each of the past three seasons. All-American Luka Garza repeated as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year in 2020 and 2021.

Murray is a finalist for the Wooden Award, with the winner being announced on April 5. He was a finalist for the following national awards: Naismith Men’s Basketball Player of the Year Trophy, Lute Olson National Player of the Year, and Lefty Driesell Defensive Player of the Year.

Last month, Murray became the program’s fourth consensus first-team All-American, joining Murray Wier (1948), Charles Darling (1952), and Garza (2020 and 2021).

Murray, who declared for the NBA Draft on Tuesday, totaled 822 points, 303 rebounds, 68 blocks, 66 3-point field goals, 52 assists, and 45 steals in his historic sophomore campaign. He is only the second player in Division I history to amass more than 800 points, 60 blocks, and 60 3-pointers in a single season (Texas’ Kevin Durant in 2007). Additionally, he is the first player with more than 800 points and 300 rebounds with a field goal percentage of 55 percent or better in a single season since North Carolina’s Antawn Jamison in 1998.

Murray (6-foot-8, 225 pounds) ranks first in the country in Player Efficiency Rating (37.8); fourth in points per game (23.5); 34th in field goal percentage (.554); 46th in blocks per contest (1.94); and 51st in double-doubles (10). His 23.5 points per game average is tops among players from a major conference and marks the third consecutive season a Hawkeye has led the Big Ten in scoring (Garza in 2020 and 2021). Murray was the only player nationally to average 23+ points and 8+ rebounds this season.

Murray averaged 7.2 points per game last year and averaged 23.5 this season (+16.3), which is the largest points per game increase by a Big Ten player in 49 years (Illinois’ Rick Schmidt’s scoring average improved +17.6 from 1972-73).

The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native tallied 20+ points 26 times and 25+ points 16 times this season, both of which rank first nationally. Murray was voted the Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player after totaling a tournament record 103 points and 38 field goals made in four games in leading the Hawkeyes to their third tournament championship and first since 2006.

He was named Big Ten Player of the Week a program-best six times this season (Nov. 22; Dec. 20; Jan. 3; Feb. 14; Feb. 28, March 6). Murray joins Ohio State’s Evan Turner (7 in 2009-10) and Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan (6 in 2016-17) as the only Big Ten players since the weekly award was introduced prior to the 1981-82 season to earn six or more weekly honors by the Big Ten in a single season.

2022 KEEGAN MURRAY HONORS

• Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year

• John R. Wooden Award Finalist, All-American

• Naismith Player of the Year Trophy Finalist

• Lute Olson National Player of the Year Finalist

• Lefty Driesell Defensive Player of the Year Finalist

• Consensus First Team All-America

Sporting News First Team All-America

Associated Press First Team All-America

• USBWA First Team All-America

The Athletic First Team All-America

• NABC Second Team All-America Team

• NABC First Team All-District Team

• USBWA All-District VI Team

• All-Big Ten First Team honoree (unanimous)

• Associated Press All-Big Ten First Team selection (unanimous)

• Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player and All-Tournament Team

• NABC First Team All-District

The Athletic Midseason Second Team All-America

• Naismith Trophy National Player of the Week (Feb. 14)

• Big Ten Co-Player of the Week (March 7)

• Big Ten Player of the Week (Feb. 28)

• Big Ten Co-Player of the Week (Feb. 14)

• Big Ten Player of the Week (Jan. 3)

• Big Ten Player of the Week (Dec. 20)

• Big Ten Co-Player of the Week (Nov. 22)