'They see Aaron White in me': The latest from Iowa basketball target Max Murrell, who will officially visit the Hawkeyes Sept. 6-8
Few 2020 prospects enjoyed a better June bloom than Max Murrell.
The 6-foot-9 power forward from Millard North in Omaha, Nebraska, entered the June 21-23 high school showcase with offers from Missouri-Kansas City, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, William and Mary and Boston.
By June 25, Murrell had added 11 more offers, including from Iowa, Creighton, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Minnesota and TCU.
Nebraska, Stanford and Northwestern joined the party July 15, too.
"It was pretty crazy. It was certainly difficult to kind of get used to, you know — all the phone calls and stuff like that," Murrell told the Register over the weekend. "But it was really exciting, and I was really happy to see my hard work paying off."
Iowa first got involved with Murrell last fall, when it hosted him as a rising junior for an unofficial visit. The Hawkeyes started showing more interest this spring, as Murrell turned high-major heads with Team Factory on the Under Armour Rise circuit.
Now, the Hawkeyes have made Murrell, who has become a consensus four-star, top-100 prospect, one of their top 2020 priorities.
He confirmed he will officially visit Iowa City from Sept. 6-8 — the weekend of Iowa's Big Ten opener against Rutgers.
"I’m just excited to get out there and see everything," he said.
Beyond official visit plans, Murrell discussed his relationship with the Hawkeyes and the latest in his recruitment with the Register. Here are the highlights of that conversation.
Which schools are involved?
Murrell unofficially visited Minnesota, his father's alma mater, in early August. He then took an official visit to Stanford from Aug. 9-11, and he's set to officially visit TCU this weekend (Aug. 30-Sept. 1).
Creighton is also basically in Murrell's backyard, and he unofficially visits the Blue Jays every once in a while for an open gym. He said he talks to Creighton a lot.
He said there are other schools involved, but he doesn't have any other visits planned.
What about Iowa appeals to him?
"The play style," Murrell said. "There’s a lot of players that I feel like are my type of play style, my type of player. (Fran McCaffery) knows a lot of those kinds of guys that have had a lot of success at Iowa."
Murrell mentioned one player in particular to whom McCaffery has compared him ...
Former Hawkeye standout Aaron White.
"His play style (is similar) — just with my versatility and other things that I can do on the floor," Murrell said. "Just the way I can shoot the ball, stretch the floor."
What is the Hawkeyes' main recruiting pitch?
"Mostly just the play style — how successful I can be as a basketball player there," Murrell said, "and to grow as a person and a player there. And just develop."
Iowa sees Murrell as a stretch power forward, one who could play a perimeter game as well as he could bang down low alongside a center — perhaps Oskaloosa big man Xavier Foster, if Iowa gets its way.
"I’ll run the floor, shoot 3s. I can also play on ball screens and stuff like that," Murrell said. "(They talk to me about) my versatility, the way they see Aaron White in me ... how much I’ve improved the last year since I’ve been up there. They like my motor and my level of competition."
What is he hoping to learn during his official visit to Iowa City?
"You know, honestly, I kind of know what I need to know about the program as far as play style and all that, because I’ve been up there unofficially," Murrell said. "So I’ve seen the facilities and stuff like that. I’m mainly just trying to get to know the guys and talk to them about their experience and get to know the coaches a little better."
What will be the biggest factors in his decision?
"The fit is the biggest thing. How I fit," Murrell said. "Not only on the basketball court, but also just on campus and in class and stuff like that — just how I’m going to enjoy my class experience there. The relationships with the coaches and the players and just everybody there."
Does he have a commitment date in mind?
"Not definitively," Murrell said. "I want to make it as soon as I can, but I also want to make sure that I have all the right information that I need. So, hopefully, after I’ve taken all the visits that I feel like I need to, I’ll be able to make the decision."
Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.
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