Keegan Murray Named Naismith Trophy Semifinalist

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa men’s basketball sophomore Keegan Murray is one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy, which is presented annually to the most outstanding player who achieves tremendous on-court success, it was announced Thursday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Murray is the first Hawkeye underclassman to be named a Naismith Trophy Men’s Basketball Player of the Year semifinalist. The Hawkeyes have had a semifinalist each of the last three seasons; Luka Garza was a finalist in 2020 and won the prestigious honor in 2021.

Murray (6-foot-8, 225 pounds) ranks first in the country in Player Efficiency Rating (38.5); fourth in points per game (23.4); 30th in field goal percentage (.559); 43rd in blocks per contest (2.03); and 469h in double-doubles (9). His 23.4 points per game average is tops among players from a major conference.

Murray is the only player nationally to average 23+ points, 8+ rebounds, and 2+ blocks this season and one of three players from a major conference with those averages over the last decade.

Murray averaged 7.2 points per game last year and is averaging 23.4 this season (+16.2). The last Big Ten player to increase his scoring by 16 points per game from one season to the next was Illinois’ Rick Schmidt, who went from 3.8 ppg in 1972-73 to 21.4 ppg in 1973-74 (+17.6).

The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native has tallied 20+ points 23 times and 25+ points 14 times this season, both of which rank first among players from major conferences. Murray totaled 26 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and a steal in yesterday’s 36-point win over Northwestern.

Murray is also on the Wooden Award National Ballot, Lute Olson National Player of the Year Mid-Season List, and is a Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Finalist. He has been named Big Ten Player of the Week a program-best six times this season (Nov. 22; Dec. 20; Jan. 3; Feb. 14; Feb. 28, March 6).

Murray joins Ohio State’s Evan Turner (7 in 2009-10) and Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan (6 in 2016-17) as the only Big Ten players since the weekly award was introduced prior to the 1981-82 season to earn six or more weekly honors by the Big Ten in a single season.

Murray and the 24th-ranked Hawkeyes (23-9, 12-8) are in action today in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament against Rutgers (18-12, 12-8) at approximately 1 p.m. (CT) at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Naismith Trophy Semifinalists

Ochai Agbaji Senior Guard Kansas
Kofi Cockburn Junior Center Illinois
Johnny Davis Sophomore Guard Wisconsin
Chet Holmgren Freshman Center Gonzaga
E.J. Liddell Junior Forward Ohio State
Bennedict Mathurin Sophomore Guard Arizona
Keegan Murray Sophomore Forward IOWA
Jabari Smith Freshman Forward Auburn
Drew Timme Junior Forward Gonzaga
Oscar Tshiebwe Junior Forward Kentucky