Keegan Murray Drafted #4 Overall By Sacramento Kings in 2022 NBA Draft

Just call him Keegan “history-maker” Murray now. On the heels of one of the greatest single seasons in the history of Iowa basketball, Keegan Murray is now the highest-drafted Hawkeye ever in the NBA Draft.

Murray is the first Iowa player taken in the first round since Ricky Davis was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 21st overall pick in 1998. He’s the first Iowa player selected in the Top 10 since Ronnie Lester in 1980. And he is — again — the highest-drafted Hawkeye eversupplanting Fred Brown, who was taken with the 6th overall pick by the Seattle Supersonics in 1971. Fred had a good 51-year run as Iowa’s highest-drafted player, but that spot belongs to Keegan Murray now.

The Kings have been somewhat, er, cursed franchise in the NBA, especially over the last 20 or so years, but they do have a promising foundation with star point guard De’Aaron Fox and skilled big man Domantas Sabonis. Fox and Murray could be an absolutely electrifying combination in transition for Sacramento. And Murray will give the Kings not one, but two Iowa-born players on their roster, joining former Ames High superstar Harrison Barnes. The state of Iowa: hoops hotbed!

As the 4th overall pick, Murray is essentially on a 3-year guaranteed contract, with two additional option years. He should earn approximately $6.1 million in salary as a rookie, bumping to $6.4 million in his second year and $6.7 million in his third season. If the Kings pick up his fourth year option, he stands to earn around $8.4 million that season. And if they offer him a qualifying offer in his fifth year, that would be worth approximately $11 million. Not bad for a barely-recruited kid out of Cedar Rapids.

And, really, when you stop and look back at it, the story of Keegan Murray’s ascension is truly astounding. He wasn’t recruited out of high school. He was barely recruited out of prep school. He came to Iowa with basically no hypo or expectations. He was a sixth man as a freshman, flashing some good play at times but not necessarily looking like a future star in the making. And then the 2021-22 season hit and Keegan Murray went absolutely supernova.

He was one of the best players in the country from the opening tip of the season, scoring with ease in the paint and on the perimeter and dominating the opposition while also proving to be an outstanding rebounder and a disruptive presence on defense. He kept up his torrid pace of productivity even as the season ground on and the competition got harder and harder. He saved some of his greatest performances for the Big Ten Tournament, helping guide Iowa to a tournament championship. And by the end of the season he was a no-doubter All-Big Ten player and a consensus All-American. And now he’s a Top 5 selection and the highest-drafted Hawkeye ever.

No one saw this coming. But it’s been a hell of a lot of fun to watch. While we won’t get to watch Keegan light it up in black and gold any more, we’re excited to see what he can do in the NBA ranks. Congratulations on making Iowa draft history and best of luck in Sacramento. Give ’em hell, Keegs.

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