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Harty: Marble’s rise mirrors that of his team

[ 0 ] March 19, 2013 |

It hardly was breaking news when Iowa guard Devyn Marble said Tuesday before practice at Carver-Hawkeye Arena that he plans to return for his senior season.

He only said it because he was asked by a few reporters, including myself, who were part of a press gathering in preparation for Wednesday’s game against Indiana State in the first round of NIT.

It was similar to last summer when the 6-foot-6 Marble said he would consider skipping his senior season to enter NBA draft. He only made that statement because he was asked about the subject and was just being honest.

His statement became a story that Marble feels has since been blown way out of proportion.

“Yeah, because I didn’t say that,” Marble said. “That’s what people don’t understand. But it doesn’t bother me because I know what happened. I know the situation.

“That’s just life. People are going to blow stuff out of proportion and say this and that. That just comes with the territory of being a collegiate athlete here.”

Basically what happened is that Marble was asked if he would consider leaving for the NBA after his junior season if the situation presented itself? It wasn’t a case of him pushing the subject or trying to promote himself.

“(I was asked) if I had the opportunity would I, and that’s why I said what I said,” Marble said.

Marble was just telling the truth by saying what almost every other Big Ten player would say under the same circumstance if they were being honest.

“I think any kid my age that has aspirations of playing at the next level would explore that option if it was available,” Marble said.

Playing in the NBA is still Marble’s primary goal. It’s what motivates him on a daily basis to get better.

But he isn’t consumed by it because Marble has a responsibility as a student-athlete. He also knows that he isn’t ready to play in the NBA at the present time and might never be ready.

There is nothing wrong, though, with using the dream of playing in the NBA as part of your fuel to succeed in college.

And it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Marble will develop into a NBA player.

In addition to his size, he also plays three positions – shooting guard, point guard and small forward – and he leads Iowa in scoring with a 14.1 per-game average.

Marble’s father, Roy Marble, was good enough to be selected in the first round of the 1989 NBA draft as a high-flying 6-6 wing player out of Iowa.

But in my opinion, Devyn has more upside than his father, who is Iowa’s all-time leading scorer with 2,116 points, because Devyn is more versatile on offense and is a better perimeter shooter. Devyn and his father made history this season when Devyn became the 41st player in the history of the Iowa program to score 1,000 points. Devyn and his father are the only father and son in Big Ten history to score at least 1,000 points in a career. Devyn has scored 1,031 points while appearing in 98 games as a Hawkeye.

He still struggles on defense, but much like his team, he’s getting better in that area, too.

Devyn Marble is similar in many ways to the team for which he plays in that both are so close to reaching elite status. Marble made third-team all-Big Ten this season and reports had Iowa as being one of the last six teams left out of the NCAA Tournament.

Marble suffered through a stretch in Big Ten play where he was held below nine points in four out of five games, but he rebounded to either lead the team or share high scoring honors in eight of the last 10 games.

“A lot of people probably don’t think I played that well because of the little stretch I had,” Marble said. “But other than that, I’ve played okay. I don’t have any regrets.”

Actually, Marble regrets one thing, but he means no disrespect to the NIT. He only has one more chance to play in the NCAA Tournament and that will drive him next season, even more than his goal of playing in the NBA.

“That was a huge goal of mine and the team and we really wanted to do that, but we came up short,” Marble said. “That really hurt.

“So I really want to do it and I have the opportunity to do so.”

I knew by tweeting Marble’s plan to return for his senior season that some would use it as an opportunity to poke fun at his situation with comments such as “where did he plan on going?” and “was he thinking about joining the military or something?”

Iowa fans should be thankful for players like Devyn Marble because some day they’ll look back and realize that he helped lay the foundation under head coach Fran McCaffery.

Just because Marble dreams of playing in the NBA and isn’t afraid to say it shouldn’t reflect poorly on him as a teammate. Marble never has come across as being cocky or self-absorbed.

He’s humble. He’s soft-spoken. And he’s committed to the cause here at the University of Iowa.

Marble is also committed to playing his best in the NIT because making a deep run would be a nice springboard into next season.

“A lot of people would love to be in the position that we’re in,” Marble said. “I’ve just got to be thankful and grateful.”

Iowa fans should feel the same way about having Marble back for another season.

Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or pharty@press-citizen.com

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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