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Cyclone, Hawkeye rivals on the court, but close friends otherwise

[ 0 ] December 11, 2013 |

There will be talking among Iowa State and Iowa men’s basketball players Friday night. You get that many Michiganders and a ball in one room together, even when that room just happens to be 14,384-seat Hilton Coliseum in Ames, and trash will be talked.

And especially be watching if Iowa State’s Monte Morris and Iowa’s Devyn Marble lock up Flint-on-Detroit.

“Look out,” Morris said. “That’ll be interesting.”

Devyn Marble is 10-1 Iowa’s top scorer, averaging 15.6 points. (David Scrivner / Press-Citizen)

Devyn Marble is 10-1 Iowa’s top scorer, averaging 15.6 points. (David Scrivner / Press-Citizen)

Not as interesting as the game, matching rated state rivals for the first time since 20th-ranked Iowa State beat No. 7 Iowa 102-100 in overtime on Dec. 19, 1987 in Ames.

But certainly worth a close look.

It won’t be as interesting as what is at stake for teams with a combined 17-1 record – the 17th-ranked Cyclones trying to extend their unbeaten streak to eight, the Hawkeyes seeking an NCAA Tournament resume-building road victory.

But it’ll be interesting.

“It’s that way whenever a bunch of Michigan guys come together,” Marble said.

Morris and Marble are so close — and their families so close — that they call each other cousins, the Cyclones’ freshman and the Hawkeyes’ senior.

“Man-Man — that’s what they call him back home – I’ve been keeping my eye on him,” Marble said. “He’s a good player. Coach Hoiberg is doing a great job with him.”

Morris, DeAndre Kane’s point guard backup, is doing so well that he hasn’t committed a turnover in his last 74 minutes – since 8:10 left to play in regulation at BYU four games ago.

Marble is 10-1 Iowa’s top scorer, averaging 15.6 points. He scored 30 against Xavier on Nov. 28, and afterwards, Morris lit up his cell phone.

“I texted him a couple times congratulations,” Morris said.

Their relationship extends beyond respect. Devyn’s father, former Iowa star Roy Marble, mentioned Morris to Hawkeye coach Fran McCaffery, but Iowa signed Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons a season earlier.

Marble also endorsed Morris to Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg.

“I’m really close to the Marbles, both of them,” Morris said. “Roy went to my high school back in the day. I went to a family get-together with them last summer.

“I’m real close to them.”

There’s more: Roy Marble was a classmate of Morris’ mother, Latonia.

“He’s like my little cousin,” Devyn said. “He’s family.”

But they’re only part of Friday’s Michigan reunion — a game in which Michiganders outnumber Iowans who have made significant contributions to teams.

“It’s like it’s in our blood,” Iowa State’s Sherron Dorsey-Walker said during an interview last summer.

Iowa State has three from that basketball-rich state averaging 9 minutes or more –Morris, Dorsey-Walker of Detroit, and Percy Gibson of Detroit. Iowa counters with Marble and Anthony Clemmons of Lansing.

Iowans likely to play in a game many expect to be close are Hawkeyes Jarrod Uthoff, Zach McCabe, Peter Jok, and Adam Woodbury.

That’s Michigan 5, Iowa 4.

“That’s crazy, all the Michigan guys that will be involved,” Marble said. “And even (Iowa State assistant Cornell Mann) – he tried to recruit me when he was coaching at Dayton.

“To me, it’s a Michigan thing.”

Featuring Marble and Morris.

“Devyn – he tried to get me to Iowa,” said Morris, who was firmly committed to Iowa State at the time. “He said, “Come on, man, come help me run the show my senior year.

“I told him thanks, but no way. I told him that I’m a Cyclone for life.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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