Iowa has sent a total of 34 players to the NBA – including Keegan Murray, who is the latest Iowan kid to enter the NBA.
And of the 34, seven former Hawkeyes have won NBA championships. That means Iowa has been well-represented in the championships over the years.
The 2022-2023 season, which is the 77th season of the NBA, just kicked off on Tuesday. This season, Iowa is well-represented, with 4 players in the biggest basketball league in the world.
1. Luka Garza, Minnesota Timberwolves
Luka Garza is a power forward who currently plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was a four-star recruit and decided to play for the Hawkeyes over offers from various colleges like Georgia. And he became a consensus pick for the national player of the year for the 2020-2021 season. In fact, he blew a lot of records for the Hawkeyes during his time with the team and he is arguably one of the best Iowa basketball players ever.
Garza then declared for the 2021 NBA draft and was selected number 52 overall by the Detroit Pistons.
He made his NBA debut on October 23, 2021, in a 97-82 loss to the Chicago Bulls, where he posted three points, two steals, two rebounds, and one assist. Garza averaged 5.8 points on 44.9% shooting and 3.1 rebounds per game in 32 games last season. He also started in 5 games.
Unfortunately, he was dropped by the Detroit Pistons mid this year. He then had a brief stint with Portland’s Summer League outfit but was later picked up by the Minnesota Timberwolves in August.
After an impressive performance in the preseason, the Timberwolves offered the former Iowa big man a two-way deal which he signed on October 15. The deal means Garza will move up and down from the G-league affiliate, the Iowa Wolves, to the NBA roster.
B1G time block. B1G time bucket. B1G time player. @LukaG_55 x #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/lwSR9xSBAK
— Iowa Men’s Basketball (@IowaHoops) October 10, 2022
2. Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings
Now, here comes Iowa’s highest-ever draft pick. Keegan Mitchell Murray was selected fourth overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2022 NBA draft.
Murray, who is considered a top candidate for the rookie of the year award, was named the Most Valued Player in Las Vegas Summer League after averaging 23.3 points and seven rebounds. His first Summer League game was against the Golden State Warriors, where he averaged 26 points and 8 rebounds.
He then led the Sacramento Kings in scoring after two preseason games, where he averaged 16.0 points while shooting 70% from 3-point range and 70.6% from the field. He didn’t play in Sacramento’s last two preseason games after he was diagnosed with what was said to be a non-COVID-19 illness.
Murray has played nine games in King’s uniform so far. He wasn’t available on Wednesday for their regular season opener against the Trail Blazers. Murray missing Wednesday’s game isn’t enough to tell whether he’ll be a starter or a bench player for the Kings, though. But head coach Mike Brown declared that Murray will get a lot of playing time either way.
Keegan has a brother, Kris, who chose to play another year for the Hawkeyes and might be one to watch in the 2023 NBA draft.
K3333GAN MURRAY @keegan3murray x #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/oHgAafNGlp
— Iowa Men’s Basketball (@IowaHoops) October 10, 2022
3. Joe Wieskamp, San Antonio Spurs
Joe Wieskamp must be a very disappointed man. After the Spurs waived Alize Johnson, Wieskamp thought he had survived the knife. Many fans had also figured that he would make the Spurs roster, but he became the final cut bringing the number down to 15.
Wieskamp was selected number 41 overall by the Spurs in the 2021 NBA draft after he had a standout season in his junior year at the University of Iowa. While at Iowa, Wieskamp averaged 14.8 points per game while shooting 46% from three. The shooting stroke never translated to the NBA, though. He played 29 NBA games in his rookie season and only shot 32.4% of his threes.
He remains a free agent as of now, though he won’t be for long. Wieskamp knows how to make big 3s off the bench in a crucial playoff game that leaves everyone screaming. Many teams will scramble for him.
OFFICIAL: We've re-signed @JWieskamp21! ✍️
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) August 24, 2022
4. Tyler Cook, Chicago Bulls
Coming out of high school, Tyler Cook was a power forward who could afford to play for many basketball powerhouses. The Missouri native, however, decided to remain on the western side and play for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Cook had an up-to-scratch performance in college and declared for the 2019 NBA draft.
He, however, went undrafted and signed a partially guaranteed deal with the Denver Nuggets and later landed a two-way contract with the team. He was, however, later released during training camp.
Cook was then claimed by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who announced in January 2020 that they had decided to convert a two-way contract with him into a standard NBA contract.
He currently plays for the Chicago Bulls, plus the NBA G League’s Windy City Bulls.
Before landing at the Advocate Centre in September last year, Cook bounced around from place to place after leaving Cleveland Cavaliers and even signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets.
Tyler Cook has always proved that he can compete with some of the best players in the NBA – no wonder many teams have loved to work with him.
Show us a better recent @B1GMBBall dunker 😱@iamtc25 x @IowaHoops pic.twitter.com/yMi6SnDlgI
— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) August 20, 2022