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Potential top-5 pick Keegan Murray declares for 2022 NBA Draft

Potential top-5 pick Keegan Murray declares for 2022 NBA Draft

Iowa sophomore Keegan Murray, who was one of the most dominant players in college basketball this season, has officially declared for the 2022 NBA Draft.

This season, Murray averaged 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.9 threes, 1.9 blocks and 1.3 steals, while shooting 55.4% from the field, 39.8% from three and 74.7% from the free-throw line. The First-Team All-American led Iowa to a Big Ten title, earning the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award.

"I am forever grateful that Coach [Fran] McCaffery gave me the opportunity to live out my dream," Murray told ESPN. "Iowa will always be my home and I'm forever grateful to be part of Hawkeye Nation."

Murray is currently ranked No. 5 on BasketballNews.com's 2022 NBA Draft Big Board. Our Sr. NBA Draft Analyst Matt Babcock was very impressed with Murray's development this season.

"I'm not sure any returning player had a more productive season than Keegan Murray," Babcock said. "I started the year expecting him to become a first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but he continued to impress month after month and moved up everyone's draft boards, including ours.

"I'm happy to see a player like Murray, who plays hard and seems to be about all of the right things, find success. His ability to produce at such a high level without dominating the ball should prove to make him a hot commodity among NBA teams. At the lowest, I expect him to be selected in the mid-lottery come June."

At 6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, Murray has a high motor and does a lot of the little things that contribute to winning. He's a terrific defender, and after shooting an inefficient 29.6% from deep as a freshman, he improved his three-point percentage to 39.8% this season.

He'll turn 22 years old in August, so he's a bit older than other top prospects Jabari Smith (18 years old), Chet Holmgren (19 years old), Paolo Banchero (19 years old) and Jaden Ivey (20 years old).

Murray believes his game will translate well to the NBA because of his versatility.

"Before I came to Iowa I always played on the wing," Murray told ESPN. "This was the first time I played the 4 and 5. We were small in the Big Ten. I'll do whatever is needed to win because of my skill set. This year I needed to play the 5. I feel like in the NBA, I can play 2 to 5. I can adapt to any position I'm put in. I'm looking forward to showing NBA teams my versatility on both ends of the court. I'm a lot more athletic than people realize. I'm as competitive a player as you're going to get."

While most mock drafts have him being selected very high, Murray insists that he doesn't care about that.

"I'm not worried about what spot I get drafted," Murray said. "I want to be in the best situation possible and play for a team that values my game and understands what I can excel at."

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