Iowa junior guard Devyn Marble is similar to the team for which he plays in that both are considered on the rise.
Marble was mostly overlooked as a recruit coming out of high school in Michigan but has since developed into a standout player at the Big Ten level.
The Iowa basketball team was mostly overlooked until last season when Marble and his cohorts overcame a rocky start to finish 18-17 overall, ending a streak of four consecutive losing seasons.
Star guard Matt Gatens used up his eligibility last season and now plays professionally in Spain. Point guard Bryce Cartwright also has departed after playing a key role in each of the past two seasons.
The other top seven scorers, though, are back from last season, including Marble and sophomore forward Aaron White.
Combine them with a heralded five-player freshman class and there is cause for optimism heading into today’s annual media day event at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to tip off the 2012-13 season.
“The expectations are definitely higher, and we know that as a team that we want to make sure the people that do support us we don’t let them down,” Marble said in a recent interview. “But at the end of the day, it’s about us, the 15 (players) and the four coaches that are with us.”
Marble’s presence as a versatile 6-foot-7 combo guard is helping to fuel the optimism.
He is coming off a sophomore season in which he led Iowa with 53 steals. He also finished second on the team in scoring with an 11.5 per-game average, second in assists with 126 and fourth in rebounding with a 3.8 average.
Marble recorded those statistics despite playing considerable minutes at point guard. He has since switched to his natural position of shooting guard with the arrival of freshman point guards Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons.
“I’m definitely anxious and ready to try it out and actually be in that role for some time,” said Marble, who is the son of Iowa’s all-time leading scorer, Roy Marble.
Devyn Marble capped his sophomore season in brilliant fashion last March by making seven 3-point baskets and scoring a career-high 31 points during a 108-97 loss to Oregon in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.
Marble then raised a few eyebrows over the summer when he said he would consider leaving college a year early to pursue an NBA career should the opportunity present itself. It was considered a rather bold statement for somebody who has yet to earn honorable mention all-Big Ten recognition.
“We all have aspirations and goals,” Marble said. “People can think it’s so far-fetched and that’s OK.
“At the end of the day, I’ve got a lot of work to do. I know that.”
Fran McCaffery enters his third season as the Iowa coach with a team that some think is on the cusp of making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006 and for just the fourth time since 1999.
Athlon Sports has Iowa as the last team out of its field of 68 teams for the 2012-13 NCAA Tournament.
McCaffery said in late August that he had no issue with Marble looking beyond college to a possible career in the NBA.
“It’s the reality of the world we live in,” McCaffery said. “The bottom line is we might as well talk about it. Do you think I have a player on my team who doesn’t want to leave and go play in the NBA? They all do.
“As a 6-7 guard who’s made great strides, he’s on the radar screen.”
Marble also is on one of the covers of Athlon Sports’ college basketball preseason magazine. But he didn’t make any of the magazines’ three preseason all-Big Ten squads.
White is the only player from Iowa to make any of the three teams as a second-team choice.
Asked if he uses that as motivation, Marble said:
“My family uses it (as motivation). At the end of the day, I wasn’t picked to be where I’m at now. So like I tell people now, why would I stop now?
“It puts a little fire in me because that’s how I am. I feel like I’m one of the best players in the Big Ten regardless of what anybody else thinks.”
Marble credits lots of people for helping him reach this point. He gets motivation from his father, who played at Iowa from 1985-89 and then briefly in the NBA, and also from McCaffery.
“He knew when he came in and recruited me to still come here that (playing in the NBA) was one of my goals, and we both talked about it,” Marble said of McCaffery. “And he said he was going to do his part to get me there. And so far, he’s kept that promise.
“I feel like I’m close, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do. And we’ve still got to win. So the people that think it might cloud my judgment on things, at the end of the day, I still want to win because without us winning stuff like that can’t happen for individuals like me.”
Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or email@example.com.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball