First-team pick Kris Murray among Iowa men's basketball players to receive All-Big Ten honors

Kennington Lloyd Smith III
Des Moines Register

The Big Ten announced its all-conference men's basketball honors Tuesday, and five Iowa players were among those recognized.

  • Junior forward Kris Murray was a first-team all-Big Ten selection.
  • Senior center Filip Rebraca was named to the third team.
  • Sophomore guard Payton Sandfort was named Sixth Man of the Year.
  • Junior guard Tony Perkins and senior forward Connor McCaffery were honorable-mention selections.

Murray was named to the Big Ten's first team by the coaches and media. He was a unanimous selection by the media. Joining Murray were Boo Buie (Northwestern), Terrance Shannon Jr (Illinois), Jalen Pickett (Penn State), Hunter Dickinson (Michigan), Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana) and Zach Edey (Purdue). Edey was named conference Player of the Year.

Murray continues the Hawkeyes' run of first-team selections, joining twin brother Keegan Murray last season and Luka Garza in 2020 and 2021. Murray averaged 20.5 points and eight rebounds during the regular season, shooting 48% from the field. He's the only player in Division I this season averaging 20 points, eight rebounds and also hitting 55-plus 3-pointers.

Last season Murray was a potential NBA draft prospect but decided to return to Iowa to solidify his draft stock and prove himself as a team's No. 1 option. Now he's an all-conference selection, among the top-15 finalists for the Wooden Award (given to the nation's top player), a Sporting News All-American and a bona fide NBA first-round draft pick should he forego his senior season.

Iowa forward Kris Murray, left, drives to the basket against Northwestern on Jan. 31 in Iowa City.

Iowa had the Big Ten's top bench player in both men's and women's basketball. Sandfort on the men's side and Hannah Stuelke on the women's side. Sandfort struggled early (he didn't make a 3-pointer in Iowa's first three conference games) but turned it around to become a consistent, impact player. He finished the regular season averaging 10.2 points per game, four rebounds and hitting 34% from 3-point range in about 20 minutes per game.

Similarly, Rebraca has a notable turnaround story this season. He was an every-game starter in 2021-22 after transferring from North Dakota but didn't play up to his potential and averaged just 5.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He returned for his fifth season with the intention of playing more confidently and proving himself at the Division I level.

This season Rebraca was one of Iowa's consistent players and arguably the most improved player in the Big Ten. His numbers skyrocketed to 13.9 points per game, 7.6 rebounds and 57% shooting from the field. He's the only Iowa starter to appear in every game this season.

Iowa forward Filip Rebraca dunks against Nebraska on March 5 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Perkins averaged 12.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game while McCaffery averaged 6.7 points. 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. McCaffery led the nation in assist/turnover ratio at 4.19.

Iowa, 19-12 overall and 11-9 in Big Ten play, is the No. 5 seed entering this week's conference tournament. The Hawkeyes will play on Thursday afternoon against the winner of the Ohio State/Wisconsin game.