Former Iowa Hawkeye Keegan Murray Has Historic Night for the Kings
A former Iowa Hawkeye, who shined brightly as a basketball star for two years before making the leap to the NBA, is continuing to make noise for the Sacramento Kings. On Saturday, December 16th, Keegan Murray was virtually unstoppable.
In a game against the Utah Jazz, Murray played probably his best game as a pro, sinking 12 three-pointers, good enough to make history. In front of a sold out crowd at the Golden 1 Center, where fans chanted his name, Murray scored a franchise-best 26 points in the third quarter and only missed one three-point attempt out of 13.
The Kings shot 22-of-45 from the 3-point line, the third time this season Sacramento made at least 20 threes. Sacramento forward Domantas Sabonis added 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, good enough for his seventh straight double-double and 20th overall this season.
Sacramento and Murray really came into their own in the third quarter, outscoring Utah 44-25. It was also when Murray broke the franchise record of 25 points in a single quarter, which was set by Mitch Richmond in the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets in December 1995.
Keegan Murray was all smiles and gratefulness after his historic performance:
It’s a really cool feeling just to have the city have your back, especially tonight, so I’m grateful for the fans and them encouraging me through the ups and the downs. It was a special night for the entire city. - Murray in the post-game press conference, per The Sacramento Bee
Murray's performance more-or-less confirmed the Kings' feelings about him as a foundational piece for the franchise going forward. The Sacramento Bee reported that the Kings brass see Murray as a pillar of the team that they would be unwilling to include in any trade talks. It's not hard to see why: Murray went 16 of 23 from the field, 12 of 15 from three-point range, and three of four at the free-throw line.
Kings Head Coach Mike Brown said Murray is only getting started. Keep in mind: this is only Murray's second year in the NBA:
He's just barely scratching the surface because he's been asked to do something that he's never been asked to do at the highest level. With his work ethic, his determination, his skill set and all that other stuff, he's gotten a chance to be a high-level player in a lot of different areas. Everybody's just seeing a little bit of it now, so there's a ton of room to grow, for sure. - Mike Brown after the Kings beat the Jazz, per ESPN
Months ago, Keegan Murray's brother, Kris, who also played for Iowa, was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 23rd pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. In November, Kris Murray was assigned to the Rip City Remix, the Trail Blazers' G League affiliate.