Iowa basketball commits Keegan and Kris Murray live their lives under-the-radar.
That’s how they’d like it.
“I feel like I’m used to it,” Kris said. “It’s definitely something I look forward to and kind of appreciate.”
After their senior seasons with Cedar Rapids Prairie, neither of the twins was happy with the college scholarship offers. They knew their skill sets needed additional work, but they also sought better exposure.
Enter DME Academy in Daytona, Florida.
A six-month stint with a post-graduate basketball academy changed things drastically.
“For both of them through the year, I got – I don’t have an exact number – maybe 40 Division I coaches reach out to me asking about both of them, from low major to high major,” said DME Academy basketball coach Wesam Al-Sous.
So, what changed?
For starters, the Murray twins filled in their bodies, both as a result of growing and intense physical training. In their six months in Florida, Kris gained 21 pounds. Keegan gained 12. They’re up to 206 and 212, respectively, both weighing 25 pounds or more than in high school.
But the program also refined their skill set. Al-Sous said at DME Academy, the twins would spend six hours a day in strength and conditioning workouts, team practice, skill development, and film sessions – a rigorous basketball boot camp, if you will, that features competition against collegiate-level teams.
“We gained the physicality of the college level, really,” Keegan said. “It helped me and my brother just getting used to getting bumped, getting hit – you’re just going to have to deal with it.”
Keegan entered the program as a shooter-scorer, while Kris was what Al-Sous tabbed a “glue guy,” someone who had a hand in everything in route to stuffing the stat sheet. Al-Sous said Keegan gained better consistency with his jumper and learned to move much better without the ball in his hands, while Kris’ ball handling and overall defense spiked.
“I had that sense about them,” Al-Sous said. “They just needed some polish, some strength. They need to be consistent in a lot of stuff, but at the same time, they gave me that feeling that those guys can be good players.”
Keegan averaged 22.4 points per game on 50.75% shooting (41.7% from 3-point range). Kris scored 17 points, grabbed 9.5 rebounds, and notched 1.7 steals per game while shooting 48.9% from the floor and 29.5% from 3-point range.
And just as the twins tore up the court in Florida, the prospect of Iowa slowly became serious. Fran McCaffery and members of his coaching staff visited DME Academy and sat in on practices before attending a jamboree.
“I remember the one time (McCaffery) came, I was there, and they played like never before,” Al-Sous said. “Kris and Keegan, (Iowa’s) their dream school. When the head coach came, both of them were hyped and played like crazy, out of their mind.”
From there, the twins visited Iowa, and it was there that they were offered scholarships.
Keegan and Kris committed on Oct. 21, 2019.
“We wanted to go into a system that would fit our play style,” Keegan said. “We play multiple positions, guard multiple positions, move freely in the offense, and that was something Fran really expressed to us. His offense is really positionless.”
Iowa always had a hand in recruiting the Murray twins, standing as one of the first Division I programs to show legitimate interest in the twins.
McCaffery and his staff also nudged Keegan and Kris in the direction of a post-graduation academy, too.
“I have to give that one to Fran,” father Kenyon Murray said with a laugh.
The decision to move to Florida for six months not only elevated their exposure, but it broadened both Keegan and Kris’ skill set, making the dream commitment to Iowa a reality.
For Kenyon Murray, who played for Iowa basketball for four years before graduating in 1996, it’s “icing on the cake,” both as a former player and as a father.
“You always hope that when they start this journey, they end up playing at the highest level they can,” Kenyon said. “To have them both go to Iowa, for our family, it’s been an unbelievable experience.”
In following their father’s footsteps, Keegan and Kris join an Iowa freshman class with legitimate talent; Ahron Ulis, Tony Perkins, and Josh Ogundele are all three-star commits filling out the newcomers.
They aren’t the most highly touted prospects in Iowa’s upcoming freshman class, but that isn’t an issue.
After all, they’re used to it.
“We’ve been kind of underrated our whole basketball careers,” Kris said. “It just pushed us to get better. I’d say there’s a chip on the shoulder for both of us.”