Assessing Kris Murray and Zach Edey in the Iowa-Purdue Game
February 15th, 2023
By Alan Lu
Iowa’s 6-8 junior forward, Kris Murray has been gaining steam and picking up traction as a draft prospect lately, and he’s considered to be a possible lottery pick for the 2023 draft. Meanwhile, 7-4 junior center, Zach Edey has been one of the most efficient and productive players in college basketball on a very good Purdue team. I decided to take the time to watch both of them play in a February 9th game that took place recently. Here are my thoughts on how they fared, as well as how they may stack up as prospects for the NBA.
Kris Murray had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Purdue. He is an athletic, skilled combo forward that would make energetic plays to help his team, and he is a scorer that can ably create his own shot and also can improvise to score on offense.
Murray did a very good job of scoring in one-on-one situations. He has a solid first step to the hoop, and he can finish plays using either hand to regularly score off the dribble. He has a fairly solid pump fake, and he also has good strength, body control, and finishing ability to score at the rim. He also would get deep position and showed good scoring touch to make shots out of the post.
He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays. Murray was able to sprint down court to score on a fast break early on, and he also made a swift back door cut that allowed him to score on a strong dunk another time. Every once in a while, he would take tough, off-balanced shots that would occasionally lead to misses, but Murray did a good job of running hard and off the ball to score on movement plays.
He also showed a decent ability to knock down jumpers. Murray especially thrived at knocking down mid-range jumpers. He was able to run quickly off of a ball screen to knock down a mid-range jumper from the baseline. He also managed to dribble and stop on a dime to get his opponent to fall backwards before making a smooth mid-range jumper. Murray also was able to run quickly off of a ball screen to make an open corner three to showcase his potential to develop into a consistent movement shooter, but Murray also missed several other times despite moving to spots to take standstill threes from beyond the arc.
Also, he looked to be fairly average as a playmaker in this game. For the positives, Murray showed that he can make passes off the dribble, and he will sometimes look to find open shooters to set up scoring chances for them. On the downside, he would sometimes throw hasty, inaccurate passes, and he telegraphed a pass that got intercepted once. He also had a ball stolen away from him while handling it another time, as he was unaware of an opponent that had roamed in from the blindside to swipe away at the basketball.
He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but Murray was able to get a board on each end of the floor. Defensively, he looked to be about average at best. For the positives, Murray is an agile forward that can rotate and apply pressure to hound opposing ball handlers, and he would play passing lanes, which would help him force passing turnovers. He also would rotate quickly to defend opposing post players, which would make it difficult for his opponents to pass the basketball. On the downside, he would sometimes loaf back on defense and not hustle or rotate back, which would allow his team to give up open shots. He also would sometimes be caught wandering around as he wouldn’t always stay focused or guard a man, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on open jumpers. Other times, he would play too aggressively or take bad angles, which would lead him to wind up out of position and it would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores.
In summary, Kris Murray played fairly well, and he showed considerable skills as a shooter, scorer, and defender when he was on the court. He can score when in constant motion, can ably create his own shot, and showed off a solid mid-range jump shot. He also has the ability to defend multiple positions, and showed good footwork on the defensive end. On the other hand, he was not consistent with his three-point shot, and he didn’t always appear to be focused defensively. Still, he showed that he is a talented prospect that may have considerable potential, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range of the 2023 draft.
Zach Edey had a solid showing in his team’s win over Iowa, and he especially thrived at operating out of the post in the second half to help his team on both ends of the floor. Edey showed a satisfactory ability to score out of the post. He would often get deep position on the block, and he would make strong moves and drop steps, which would enable him to score on jump hooks, and he also scored on a powerful dunk late in this game.
He also was able to draw free throws on a strong put back off of an offensive rebound, and Edey showed that he can make solid hustle plays to help his team when he was on the floor. Sometimes though, he wouldn’t quite find his shooting touch, and he didn’t always show great footwork, which led him to miss several shots in the first half. He didn’t take nearly as many shots as expected as he was swarmed by a multitude of defenders when getting post touches, but Edey tended to make sound decisions and passes on offense.
Also, Edey showcased satisfactory playmaking skills in this game. He is an unselfish player that made good reads and passes out of the post, and he showed that he can pass out of double teams and find cutters to consistently get the ball to his teammates. He can showed that he can throw long, accurate passes, as well as timely passes to get the ball to his teammates on the move. He also was able to set a solid screen to help his teammate get an open driving lane once. However, sometimes he would get sped up when posting up, which would lead him to throw inaccurate, hasty passes that would go astray.
He also did a terrific job of rebounding the basketball. Edey would leap up to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor. He was able to tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get an offensive rebound. He also made a good hustle play late in this game by diving for a loose ball on the ground to get a defensive rebound another time.
Edey also played solid defense in this game. He did a great job of rotating to block shots hard off of drives due to possessing good length, timing, and positioning. He would defend straight up when defending in the post to force misses, and he would make timely rotations to defend mid-range jumpers and various shots in the paint to get stops for his team. He would usually close out on shooters to get stops, and he seemed to make a concentrated effort to challenge shots when he was on the floor. Sometimes though, he would over-help onto opposing ball handlers or give up too much space, and he would occasionally allow opponents to score on open jumpers. Other times, he wouldn’t always effectively communicate to his teammates on how they should defend in screen situations, and late in this game, he had trouble guarding a quicker ball handler on a drive that led him to commit a foul and allow a score that time.
In general, Zach Edey had a solid showing in his team’s win over Iowa. He thrived as an interior player to help his team on both ends of the floor, and he passed the ball very well out of the post, which enabled him to move the ball to his teammates and rack up assists. He has been a terrific player in college basketball this season. For the next level though, he’ll need to expand his shooting range and work on his jump shot, and also show that he can consistently guard quick players out on the perimeter. He showed a good feel for the game and played very well out of the post, and Edey could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round range of the 2023 draft.
Purdue’s 6-10 sophomore big man, Caleb Furst played very well in his team’s win over Iowa. He shot the ball very well, and he is an agile, skilled big man that showed off versatile scoring skills to help his team on the floor. Caleb Furst was very efficient as a shooter and shot maker in this game. He thrived at running the floor to score on fast breaks. He excelled at scoring out of the post, and he would make strong moves to score inside. He made a solid hustle play to score on a tip-in off of an offensive rebound. Furst also was able to make an open corner three-point shot smoothly to show his range from beyond the arc.
Plus, he also did a great job of rebounding the basketball. Furst also was able to contest a three to force a miss, and he generally defended well. Overall, Furst is a skilled big man that can shoot and score the basketball, and while he didn’t take many shots, he made all of the shots he took on offense, and he did excellent work on the boards. He provided a big boost off the bench to help his team, and he could be a prospect to watch sometime down the road.
Purdue’s 6-0 freshman point guard, Braden Smith had a solid showing in his team’s win over Iowa. He is a smart, game-managing playmaker that especially played well in the first half, as he shot the ball very well, made good passes, and was able to score in a variety of ways to help his team. He was a bit turnover prone in the second half as he struggled a bit with Iowa’s pressing and trapping defense, but Smith generally played well in this game.
Smith shot the ball very well from downtown. He showed a knack for making threes to space the floor for his team, and he showed that he can make them both off the catch and dribble. He also thrived at scoring on strong, crafty drives to the hoop, and he would use a variety of moves to get past his man and finish plays around the basket. He also managed to score on a pull-up, bank shot from the mid-range to close the first half. While he’s not an overly explosive guard, Smith showed a good shooting touch as well as a solid burst, crafty ball-handling skills, and the body control that would enable him to score in a variety of ways.
He also displayed decent playmaking skills. Smith passed the ball very well early on, and he showed that he can throw good passes off the dribble when operating out of a half court set to rack up assists. He can make swift drive and kick passes, and he also threw a no-look pass to set up scores for his teammates. He also threw a quick wraparound pass to find a corner shooter another time, and he can throw quick touch passes to find the open man. However, he had trouble making decisions or breaking the press late in this game. Down the stretch, Smith would tend to throw hasty passes that would get intercepted, and he also took too long to pass or get the ball up the floor another time that led to a team turnover.
Plus, Smith showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball, and he would crash the glass to get boards on both sides of the ball. He also played adequate defense in this game. Smith was able to run in to swipe a ball away from an opposing ball handler to get a steal. He also would contest threes to force misses. However, he had some trouble guarding taller, more athletic ball-handlers off the dribble, and his lack of size or elite foot speed would make it difficult to defend him, which would lead his team to allow scores.
Overall, Braden Smith played well in his team’s win over Iowa. He thrived at making shots on offense and showed good court vision in the first half, but he didn’t take great care of the basketball late in this game. Still, he was able to make a surprising number of plays, and he generally showed a solid feel for the game. Though he isn’t overwhelmingly athletic, his ability to run the point and make plays could enable him to end up being a backup point guard in the NBA someday.
Iowa’s 6-9 junior forward, Patrick McCaffery quietly played well in his team’s loss to Purdue. He didn’t seem to do anything too flashy, but he made solid team plays to help his team on both ends of the floor. McCaffery showed that he can score on hustle plays, and he also was able to knock down an open, spot-up three off the catch. He also generally passed the ball well and showed solid court vision. He was called for traveling when getting the ball on a back door cut and didn’t take many shots on offense, but generally McCaffery excelled as a shooter and passer in this game.
Though he didn’t get many boards in this game, McCaffery was able to get a board on both sides of the ball. He also played solid defense. McCaffery managed to get up a plethora of steals on the defensive end. He would get his hands on passes, rip balls away, and jump on loose balls to get many steals throughout this game. He also stayed with an opposing ball handler on a drive and then blocked the shot out of bounds due to possessing solid length and timing. He also would contest threes to force misses. On one play though, he committed a foul when defending an opposing ball handler in the backcourt due to over-aggressiveness. On another possession, he was caught ball watching and lost track of his man on a back door cut and allowed him to score that time.
Overall, Patrick McCaffery made sound plays off the bench to help his team on both ends of the floor. He didn’t seem to get enough playing time in this game, but he was effective at making plays, nonetheless. He may need to stay in school to continue to hone his game, but he could project to be a versatile role player at the NBA level if he can continue to progress and improve as an overall player.
Iowa’s 6-9 senior forward, Filip Rebraca had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Purdue. He’s the son of former Detroit Pistons’ center, Zeljko Rebraca. Filip Rebraca excelled at attacking the hoop to score the basketball, and he also passed the ball well, but he also struggled defensively in this game.
Rebraca showed off a strong mid-range jump shot, and he was very effective at getting the ball on short rolls to knock them down. He also thrived at scoring on hustle plays. Rebraca excelled as a scorer off of cuts, put backs, and fast breaks. On one especially good play, he was able to drive the ball aggressively in transition and used a Euro-step move to score on a powerful dunk. He has a solid motor, and he would tend to score on energetic plays.
He also showed a solid ability to score out of the post. He can dribble to his spots and get deep position, and he would score on strong, jump hooks. He also can take on the contact in order to get to the free throw line. He did miss an open three-point shot late in this game, but overall, Rebraca was very effective as a shooter and scorer on offense.
Rebraca also passed the ball well. He showed that he can make timely passes, and he also passed well out of the post. He was able to pass out of the post to find a cutter to notch an assist, and Rebraca showed good patience and court sense when he was on the court.
He also was able to get his fair share of boards to help chip in on the glass. Defensively though, Rebraca really struggled on that side of the ball. For the positives, he was able to contest shots when defending in the post to force a couple of misses. However, he tended to allow opponents to get deep post position, which would lead him to allow scores. He also didn’t make sound rotations, as he wouldn’t stay out on shooters on switches, or would pass off his man to teammates at in opportune times, and other times he would struggle to defend quicker opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to give up baskets to his opponents.
Overall, Filip Rebraca played fairly well in this game, and he is a skilled big man that generally excelled as a shooter and passer on offense. He’ll really need to improve his defense, but his ability to operate out of the post and on short rolls to the rim could enable him to carve out a solid, lengthy playing career in professional basketball.
Purdue’s 6-6 forward, Mason Gillis played fairly well in his team’s win over Iowa. He shot the three-ball very well, and he thrived as a spot-up shooter off the catch. He was able to run quickly off of a ball screen to knock one down, and he also was able to make a spot-up three on the break. He also drove quickly to the hoop to score on a fast break late in this game. He didn’t take many shots though, and he had a shot blocked when looking to score off of a cut once.
He was quite turnover prone in this game. He would hold the ball too long and get balls poked away from him to commit turnovers. He also threw a hasty pass when he was in the backcourt that got intercepted. Gillis rebounded the ball fairly well. He struggled defensively, as he didn’t seem to give enough effort to contest shots, and he also got beat on a back door cut and allowed his man to score on a dunk later on.
Overall, Mason Gillis is an athletic swingman that can shoot and score the basketball. He will need to show that he can consistently create his own shot, take care of the ball better, and play better defense, but he is a player that could project into a 3 and D type of role in the NBA if he can continue to improve and hone his overall game.
Fletcher Loyer is a 6-4 freshman guard that plays for Purdue, and he had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Iowa. He scored the basketball in volume, but was not efficient in making them with the shots he took on offense. He showed a solid ability to make step-back jumpers from the mid-range, and he has a good pump fake that he can use to sore on strong drives to the hoop. However, despite being able to make a pair of open corner threes, Loyer missed a lot of three-point shots, and he would tend to take a lot of quick, rushed shots that would lead to misses.
Loyer showcased adequate playmaking skills in this game. He is an unselfish player that was able to find the open man to get assists, but sometimes would throw hasty passes that would get intercepted. He didn’t get many boards, but was able to get a pair of defensive rebounds. He also played adequate defense in this game. He was able to contest threes as well as stay with ball handlers on drives to force misses. Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend opponents off of drives or cuts, which would lead him to give up baskets to his opponents.
Overall, Fletcher Loyer didn’t have his best game, but he showed that he can score comfortably off the dribble and from the mid-range, and he would make team plays to help Purdue when he was on the floor. He will need to be a more consistent shooter and show that he can guard upper-echelon opponents on a consistent basis, but Loyer could be a player to watch sometime down the road.All in all, those are my thoughts on how Kris Murray, Zach Edey, and other various prospects fared in this game. Thanks for reading.