About three weeks ago Keegan Murray became the highest-drafted Hawkeye basketball player ever, going #4 overall to the Sacramento Kings in the 2022 NBA Draft. So how are things going for Keegz at the next level so far? Well...
Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray has been named the Most Valuable Player of NBA 2K23 Summer League 2022.— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) July 18, 2022
Murray averaged 23.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 50.0% from the field and 40.0% from three-point range in four games in Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/mTuBltv7Eo
In Summer League action in Las Vegas, Keegan essentially picked up right where he left off with Iowa this past season, displaying impressive productivity in multiple facets. His ability to score with ease in a variety of ways -- around the rim, at the free throw line, from deep -- was on fully display and he was also a very capable rebounder, while also contributing as a passer and defender too. This was the Keegz we were fortunate to watch terrorize Big Ten defenses last winter and he picked up and did the exact same thing against many of the best rookie and second-year players in the NBA.
He showed off some Steph Curry-level range from deep:
Keegan Murray has hall-of-fame limitless range. pic.twitter.com/WUNlJP7jqp— Brenden Nunes (@BrendenNunesNBA) July 16, 2022
He showed off his clutch bona fides too:
What the hell pic.twitter.com/rO4NLUlPaM— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) July 9, 2022
He's still a devastating force in transition and a silky smooth dunker:
Keegan Murray with the slam pic.twitter.com/pYGqMdljCP— Cameron Salerno (@cameronsalerno1) July 14, 2022
Keegan Murray doing Keegan Murray things. The perimeter defense, the steal, and the breakaway dunk. pic.twitter.com/XFCFZML30o— Kings Film Room (@SacFilmRoom) July 5, 2022
He definitely stood out (in a very good way!) compared to his peers, too.
Keegan Murray dropped 29 points for the Kings tonight, already his 5th 20-point game of this Summer League.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 14, 2022
The other 13 lottery picks from the 2022 Draft have combined for 6 total 20-point games, and only Bennedict Mathurin (2) has multiple. pic.twitter.com/kVNLc0J48h
Granted, this isn't a pure apples-to-apples comparison, since several of the top picks from this year's draft played limited action in the Summer League. And obviously Keegan will be facing much stiffer competition than he saw in the Summer League when the regular season rolls around; time will tell how well he's able to adjust against better defenses and stronger talent. But step one was seeing how he fared against a collection of his peers -- and against that field, Murray looked absolutely great. He certainly looked like he belonged among NBA-caliber talent and like he'd be able to be a productive and efficient player at the next level. Can he be a star? We'll find out eventually -- but this was an excellent start to his NBA career.
Keegan wasn't the only former Hawkeye to enjoy a successful Summer League campaign. Luka Garza was cut by the Detroit Pistons earlier in the offseason, but signed a contract with Portland and played for the Trailblazers' Summer League team. That same Summer League squad just went and won the whole damn thing.
Not too shabby! pic.twitter.com/p3aUPUoVbP— Iowa Mens Basketball (@IowaHoops) July 18, 2022
Which presumably means that Luka gets to add a Summer League championship ring to his bling collection:
Well done, Keegan and Luka. We loved watching you light up the scoreboard at Carver-Hawkeye Arena over the past few seasons; here's hoping you get to keep doing that at the next level for years to come.