Murray twins ready to live their dream
It was bound to happen at some point in their Iowa career.
While Keegan Murray didn’t really want to say, he let the cat out of the bag that assistant coach Kirk Speraw made the mistake recently.
“We were doing some drill work and he couldn’t tell which one of us it was, so he called us Kreegan, which is kind of putting the two names together.”
Such is the life of twins who happen to be very good basketball players and appear to be just starting to scratch the surface of their potential.
While the coaches might mix the up or combine their names, Kris and Keegan Murray are different types of basketball players and that’s probably why Fran McCaffery could afford to expend two scholarships on the son of Kenyon Murray, who starred for the Hawkeyes in the early to mid-90’s.
They both agree that Keegan is the more offensively explosive player, while Kris is more lunch pail and work in the paint.
“Keegan is more of a shooter and I would rather get to the basket. We are both team players that complement each other well. We are twins, but once you see us on the court, you will see we have a lot of differences,” Kris Murray said.
Keegan will wear #15 and Kris will wear #20, but the big difference is shooting. Kris shoots with his left hand, while Keegan is a righty.
How the Murray twins ended up following in their father’s footsteps is really quite a story. While many high major prospects are known and offered well before their senior year, Kris and Keegan had a different path.
The Murray’s continued to grow, develop, and gain weight and eventually became Big Ten players.
Patrick McCaffery, who went head to head with Kris and Keegan quite a bit at the high school level in the games between Iowa City West and Cedar Rapids Prairie, too note of the change in their senior year.
“I remember my senior year we were playing them and I got out on the court and Keegan was eye to eye with me and I was like what the heck? I was way taller than him the year before,” Patrick McCaffery said.
Keegan Murray agrees with his former foes assessment.
“In high school I was smaller and a good shooter. Between my junior and senior year I grew from about 6-5 to 6-8 and now I am almost 6-9,” he said. “Both of us really grew, gained weight, and got stronger.
In their senior year, Keegan Murray earned first team all-state and was named Cedar Rapids metro player of the year, averaging 20.5 points per game. Kris Murray was named second team all-state, averaging 19.5 points per game.
But, the scholarship offers weren’t there for the level they believed they could play at, so they packed up and headed to DME Academy in Florida to continue to develop as players.
Fran McCaffery and his assistant coaches kept an eye on the Murray’s and eventually the Iowa head coach saw enough to extend a scholarship offer to both of them.
It was a dream come true for Kris and Keegan Murray. They grew up as Hawkeye fans and now they could follow in the footsteps of the father and wear the black and gold.
What made it even more significant and meaningful is that Kris is named after Chris Street, who was a teammate of Kenyon’s and one of the major factors that led to him committing to the University of Iowa.
The Murray’s learned of the connection to Street when they were young and never forgot the connection.
“We used to go to the tournament in Indianola and that’s when I met Mike and Patty Street. He told me what my name meant and who Chris Street was. Ever since then I have been looking up to him as a role model,” said Kris Murray.
Now every day he goes to Carver-Hawkeye Arena and walks by a plaque outside the Iowa locker room that honors Street and his legacy.
“The first day I got here I didn’t even know it was there. Then I saw it and it made me realize that he had a huge impact here at Iowa.”
Almost immediately the Murray twins received a welcome to college basketball moment. With Jack Nunge still not fully cleared following ACL surgery and Josh Ogundele not yet in Iowa City, the unenviable task of guarding Luka Garza this summer fell to the pair of freshman.
“In the first scrimmage I played in over the summer I was matched up with Luka. I wasn’t expecting to go up against the player of the year in my first practice, so that was eye opening for me,” Kris Murray said. “He has taught me a lot and beat me up a little bit.”
Keegan Murray also got his time with the returning player of the year and it went as expected for him, but it also provided a great learning experience.
“Kris and I got thrown into the fire a little bit against Luka in some of the early scrimmages and practices. The physicality that he brings and the way he runs the court, that was my wow, you are in the Big Ten now moment.”
In less than a week the Murray’s will have their true welcome to college basketball moment when they play in their first college basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, a place they have been many times to cheer on the Hawkeyes. Now they will be wearing an Iowa uniform and they can’t wait to get started.
“That feeling coming out with my brother will be something I will remember for the rest of my life,” Keegan Murray said.