Keegan Murray projected as a high lottery pick in USA Today's 2022 NBA mock draft

Adam Hensley
Hawk Central

USA Today's post-NCAA Tournament mock draft is out, and Hawkeye fans will find a familiar face in one of the coveted lottery picks.

Keegan Murray, Iowa's star forward, is projected to be taken with the sixth pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, going to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Murray, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound Cedar Rapids native, averaged 23.5 points and 8.7 rebounds in his breakout sophomore campaign for the Hawkeyes. He was a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy, and was a unanimous All-Big Ten First-Team player. Murray declared for the NBA Draft on March 29.

There's no guarantee Portland would hold the No. 6 spot in the draft thanks to the NBA's lottery system, but if things shake out according to projections, Murray would fit well on paper with the Trail Blazers. With star Damian Lillard recovering from injury, the Blazers — typically a playoff team — fully embraced the tank. Portland has lacked a reliable small forward or power forward, and Murray's versatility and offensive skillset (39.8% 3-point shooting this season) projects to be a plug-and-play option right from the get go.

More:6 things to know about Keegan Murray, Iowa basketball's star and potential NBA Draft lottery pick

There's a chance Murray could be taken before the sixth pick, though.

Mock drafts from Bleacher Report and ESPN both tab Murray as the fifth overall pick. The Ringer also projects Murray at No. 5, landing with the Orlando Magic, comparing his game to Pascal Siakam, Al Horford and TJ Warren.

Murray is slated to be Iowa's first first-round draft pick since 1998, when the Charlotte Hornets selected Ricky Davis with the 21st pick.

The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 23. The official draft order will be set on May 17 during the NBA Draft lottery reveal.

Read more about Keegan Murray and the NBA Draft

Adam Hensley is a digital producer with the USA Today Network. You can follow him on Twitter @A_Hens83 or reach him at ahensley@gannett.com.