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'Late bloomer': Iowa's Keegan Murray on Pistons' radar with No. 5 pick

Matt Charboneau, The Detroit News on

Published in Basketball

A smooth, efficient scorer, Murray went from a role player at Iowa as a freshman to a star a year later, thanks to plenty of hard work in the offseason and a new mindset, a shift that was necessary when Garza, the national player of the year, was selected in the second round by the Pistons.

“My mentality flipped,” Murray said. “I knew that I would have the ball in my hands more and I had to take that for what it was worth. Going into the offseason, I had to be comfortable with the ball in my hands, use my skill set and find different ways to score the ball that was not just plays, but offensive rebounds, put-backs, run the floor in transition.

“So for me, it was getting in the best shape possible and also flipping my mindset to where I knew I was the best player on the court, whenever I stepped on the court.”

It’s a mindset Murray is ready to take to the NBA, where some believe his age — he’ll turn 22 when next season begins — means he might have reached his full potential, making him a safe pick, if not the pick that could turn into a superstar.

Murray, of course, sees things differently.

“I feel like my ceiling is as high as anyone because I'm a late bloomer,” Murray said. “I feel like I haven't really grown into my body just yet. You could see the progress from when I was in prep school to my freshman year to my sophomore year. I’ve still been continuing to work on my body, still adding weight and things like that.

“So, for me, like I said, I'm a 21-year-old in an 18-year-old’s body. I’m still working on my body and I feel like my ceiling is higher than anyone else in the draft.”

 

The Pistons are, at least, interested.

“I've had interviews with them,” Murray said. “Talking with them, it's been going well. So for me, it's just putting my best foot forward in the interview process. With any team, I'm just trying to build great relationships with all teams that I meet with and cross paths with.”

Perhaps that leads Murray to Detroit — a place he’s not completely unfamiliar with. After all, his father, Kenyon, was Michigan’s Mr. Basketball at Battle Creek Central in 1992 and Murray still visits family in Michigan on a regular basis.

Wherever he lands, though, Murray will likely continue to squash any doubt and enjoy every step.

“I love the game of basketball,” Murray said. “I've always loved it. And it's crazy how a little round ball that you shoot through a hoop, how far that can take you in life. So, for me, I just love the game and love that my family is with me through every step of the way.”

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