Keegan Murray broke out for Iowa basketball last year. His twin Kris is ready to do the same.
Last season, Iowa's Kris Murray did a lot of watching and learning. With an experienced team, Murray saw the bulk of his contributions on Iowa's practice squad.
He appeared in only 13 games, with a season-high nine minutes in a March 4 contest against Nebraska.
Still, he says every minute — as few as there were — was beneficial.
Now, with the voids left by standout performers CJ Fredrick, Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp, he's ready to step into the forefront of Iowa's team this season.
"Last year was more of a learning experience for me," Murray said. "The talent that we had, the leaders we had on that team is something that I was grateful to have. On scout team, I got to learn a lot of different offenses in the Big Ten.
" … I got to play as a lot of different players with different skillsets and translated it to my game, which is going to help a lot this year."
Murray is no stranger to developmental years. He likened last season to his high school experience where he sat for almost his entire sophomore year and broke out as an All-Conference performer in his junior and senior year.
After graduating from Cedar Rapids Prairie in 2019, Kris, along with twin brother Keegan, spent a post-graduate year at DME Sports Academy in Daytona Beach, Florida. They went from low-major prospects to Big Ten recruits.
He expected a similar freshman experience at Iowa. His past experiences prepared him to not play much and his confidence as a player never wavered.
He's looking forward to showcasing the player he is now versus the player that people knew him as in high school.
"In high school I was more of a shooter," Kris Murrary said. "I've developed all kinds of areas of my game, especially mid-range. I've really developed that on scout team and taking advantage of those practices with the talent we had.
"... One of the biggest parts of my game right now is getting to the basket and creating for others."
While Kris was developing, Keegan was an All-Big Ten Freshman selection. In his opinion, Kris' lack of on-court minutes was a result of last year's team makeup.
In what's been a full off-season for the team, the brothers have used this time to push each other and prepare to both make on-court strides this season.
"Last year from a mental standpoint, he was really ready," Keegan Murray said. "He was just behind a couple of guys, that's all it was. He has the skill set to compete at this level and play.
"... (We) have been working 1-on-1 a lot. I think us going at each other a lot during the off-season has continued his growth and my growth as well."
Throughout his career, the Murrays have embraced the opportunity to learn and develop. Within the program, there's a feeling that Kris could be due as a breakout performer.
Kris Murray has been a part of Iowa's long-term plans in the post Garza/Wieskamp era. In the early part of the off-season, Murray has embraced the expectations.
"It definitely does [feel that way]," Murray said. "In practice we've put an emphasis just offensively everyone making contributions. We play a really selfless brand of basketball so everyone's going to have a big part.
"... I think the way we're going to play with how flexible it is, I'll have a big contribution and everyone will both offensively and defensively."
Kennington Smith is the new Iowa Hawkeyes beat writer for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington on Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org