Keegan Murray is going to be living in California, so one question he got at Saturday’s press conference introducing him as a new member of the Sacramento Kings was obvious.
The answer — yes, the Kings’ No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA draft did like In-N-Out burgers.
The former Iowa forward is a burger aficionado, so of course he was going to try one from the popular West Coast chain, which he did when he visited Sacramento on one of his pre-NBA draft workouts.
For the record, he ranked In-N-Out No. 3. His favorite burger comes from Small Cheval in Chicago — he repeated the name to someone after the press conference was over — and No. 2 on his list was Shake Shack.
There were, of course, more important matters that Murray was asked about.
The biggest thing is, he has found an NBA home.
“I knew that I built a good relationship with a lot of people here,” said Murray, who went to the Kings with the No. 4 pick in Thursday’s draft. “And I knew that if I came here, it would be a great opportunity for me.”
Murray, who became the highest NBA pick in Iowa history, averaged 23.5 points last season.
And if there are any doubts about how his game will translate to the NBA, well, Murray said, that’s OK, he’s faced doubters throughout his career.
“I think what shaped my love for the game of basketball is just how I've been unappreciated my whole life,” Murray said. “I felt like coming out of high school unranked (in recruiting rankings), one Division I offer, thinking about going the (junior-college) route, I think that just built my love for basketball even more. I know that I have a lot to learn, to do, a lot to grow in my development and I'm just excited, I feel, to develop my game even more here.”
Murray knows there are misconceptions about his game.
“I think it's my competitive spirit,” he said of what he thought was the biggest misconception. “I get a lot of that just because I'm so even keel on the court. I just try not to get too high or too low. And high school I was kind of like that kid that always wore his emotions on his sleeve. So I just tried to change that —‚ it didn't work for me. So I'm just trying to keep that even-keel mindset. But for me, once you get in between the lines, I feel like I'm one of the biggest competitors out there. So I feel like that's probably a misconception.”
Murray smiled when he asked how it felt on draft night knowing the Kings were going to select him.
“Yeah, I think when I knew was when all the cameras started going in on the table,” Murray said, laughing. “So when all the cameras started coming my way at the table. I was excited to start buttoning up my jacket to get ready to walk on the stage.”
Kings general manager Monte McNair repeated his thoughts from Thursday, when said picking Murray was a no-doubter.
“We were thrilled,” McNair said. “We get five minutes (to make a pick). I don't think we used anywhere near five minutes to call it in. For us, for sure, that joy was 100 percent. That was our whole front office as an organization, not just myself.”
Murray gave credit to Iowa coach Fran McCaffery for his development.
“He's always believed in me” Murray said.”I've played against both his kids in high school — we went to rival high schools — so he was able to see my growth and development. I mean, he was the first coach that treated me and (twin brother) Kris as individuals. So I think I give all credit to him, our coaching staff, in just developing me and also giving me the confidence just to go out every night knowing that if we win or lose, he can live with that, with me being the guy on their team. He just established great confidence in me and I'm just forever grateful for him.”
Murray said he knows he’ll fit in with the Kings.
“I think it’s just my mindset, my ability — I'm able to fit into a lot of different cultures, fit in and be and be successful in a lot of places,” Murray said. “So just think just creating good relationships with everyone in this organization, from top to bottom, I feel like, will give me great success and I'm just excited to keep building those relationships. I know that those will have an effect on the court. Because once you have really good chemistry as a team as a coaching staff, as an organization, the sky's the limit.”