An inside look at Iowa basketball star Keegan Murray's life ahead of the NBA Draft
Keegan Murray is a day from learning where he will play in the NBA.
Months of anticipation are now hours from reality.
The 2022 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday (7 p.m. on ESPN) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, where Murray is assuredly projected lottery pick. Things for the Cedar Rapids native are about to change in a big way.
According to USA Today's latest mock draft, Murray's projected to the Detroit Pistons with the No. 5 overall pick. His current betting odds on a draft selection is over/under 5.5 according to sports betting platform BetOnline. Iowa's highest draft pick of all time is Fred Brown, selected No. 6 overall in 1971.
He's one of the selected prospects to attend the 2022 NBA Draft live. A total of 11 people made the trip to New York City to accompany Keegan. His draft table will consist of him, his parents Kenyon and Michelle Murray, twin brother Kris, younger sister McKenna and two representatives from Priority Sports & Entertainment: super agent Mark Bartelstein and his colleague Kyle McAlarney.
"I feel like it'll be really cool," Keegan Murray said to the Des Moines Register last week. "I'll have all my family there with me so it'll be a special event for them too. But I feel like just sitting there and hearing my name called, shaking (NBA commissioner Adam Silver)'s hand will probably be a surreal experience. I won't really think about it much until after the fact but I think I think it'd be really special."
So what's life like for the potential top-five pick in the moments ahead of his big day. His father talked with Hawk Central to provide this glimpse into Murray's world ahead of the draft.
Inside Keegan Murray's busy schedule ahead of NBA Draft
Keegan Murray arrived to New York on Tuesday after spending last weekend in Cedar Rapids.
On Tuesday night, he attended a social event hosted by popular trading cards company, Panini, with other top prospects. Annually, top draft picks have beginning-level endorsement deals with Panini (endorsement value varies by where each player is selected). Tuesday night was the first of several obligations Murray will have to complete throughout his rookie year to fulfill his commitment, including public appearances, social media posts, autograph signatures and more.
After the Panini event, Keegan returned to his hotel to workout and lift weights.
"He's like, 'alright, get me back. I need to get in the weight room,'" his father recalled.
Wednesday is another packed day.
Murray and his fellow green room, draft invitees went through an NBA-sanctioned media training in the afternoon.
Later Wednesday, Priority Sports plans to host the entire Murray family for dinner on Wednesday night. To end the day, Keegan will attend a meet-and-greet hosted by SLAM Magazine and Wilson Sporting Goods Company.
On Thursday morning, prospects will have a meeting with NBA staff about the logistics of draft night then the Murray family will have lunch with NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
From then, everyone attending with the Murrays will get dressed — the NBA provides hair and makeup for women and haircuts for men — before departing for the Barclay's Center in the mid-afternoon.
NBA Draft rumors intensify
As of Wednesday, NBA Mock Drafts have projected Murray as high as No. 5 to the Detroit Pistons and as low as No. 9 to the San Antonio Spurs. Additionally, there's the possibility for trades. According to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, one of the most shopped picks is the Sacramento Kings at No. 4 overall.
Kenyon Murray described the draft updates from Keegan's agents as "daily, if not hourly." Kenyon says they outlined as many as nine different scenarios for Keegan earlier this week.
Wherever he lands, Keegan's demeanor hasn't changed: He expects to contribute for whomever picks him on Thursday evening.
But the uncertainty makes for an exciting evening.
"There's gonna be a lot happening on draft night," Kenyon said. "We may not know honestly where he eventually ends up until like, after the first first round because of all the trade things that can happen. But (Keegan), he just listens and he processes it and he's just like, 'Well, wherever I'm at. I'm at. I'm just ready to play.'"
Kennington Lloyd Smith III covers Iowa Hawkeyes football and men's basketball for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington on Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.