There will be at least one celebration Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena with the 1986-87 Iowa men’s basketball team being honored 25 years after setting a school record with 30 victories.
Whether there is a second celebration will depend on what happens when the current Iowa men’s basketball team faces Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Sophomore guard Devyn Marble was asked Friday if it’ll be difficult to focus on the game with all the hoopla surrounding the ‘86-87 squad.
Marble’s father, Roy Marble was a sophomore on the 1986-87 team, and also is Iowa’s all-time leading scorer with 2,116 points.
“I don’t think it’s going to be that difficult,” the younger Marble said. “We’ve still got a task of our own to handle, and we’re preparing for that right now. That’s going to be the main goal, to win.”
Iowa will bring records of 12-10 overall and 4-6 in the Big Ten into today’s game while Penn State is 10-13 overall and 2-8 in the conference under first-year coach Patrick Chambers. The Hawkeyes are coming off a 63-59 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday, a game in which they trailed by 10 points in the second half.
The 6-foot-6 Marble was huge down the stretch, scoring five of his 12 points in the decisive closing minutes. He also assisted on a basket by senior guard Matt Gatens in the final seconds to secure the victory.
Devyn Marble wasn’t alive when his father starred at Iowa, but he is aware of what his father accomplished in a Hawkeye uniform and what the 1986-87 team accomplished, which included starting the season with 18 consecutive victories and climbing to No. 1 in the national rankings.
Devyn is trying to help bring Iowa back to elite status and he hopes that some of what made the 1986-87 squad successful will rub off on his team.
“I think a big thing that we can take from that team is their toughness,” Devyn Marble said. “That was a real physical group that was mentally and physically tough.
“That was probably one of the biggest things that I got from watching that team on tape.”
The current Iowa team has struggled with toughness enough to where coach Fran McCaffery ripped his players following last Sunday’s 103-89 loss at Indiana.
The players responded by holding Minnesota to 59 points in the next game.
Some of the players from the 1986-87 team were expected to attend Iowa’s practice on Friday.
Roy Marble still lives in the area and is almost always at Devyn’s games.
“He gives him good advice,” McCaffery said of Roy Marble’s relationship with his son. “He pushes him to work hard. I know they have a very, very special bond. You can see it. He’s at every game. I know they talk after every game.
“But I think by the same token Devyn is really a unique person. He’s his own man. He thinks for himself. He takes advice. He takes coaching.”
The Iowa players will wear throw-back uniforms during today’s game to honor the 1986-87 team. The throwback shorts are short by today’s standards, but not as short as they were when Marble’s father played 25 years ago.
“I just don’t know how they did it,” Devyn Marble said of wearing the shorts in his father’s playing days. “I don’t know how they did it.”
McCaffery said Friday that Eric May’s status for Saturday’s game was uncertain because of a back injury. The 6-5 May missed the Minnesota game because of issues with his back.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball