Hawkeyes’ 1,000-point trio proud of program turnaround

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Forty-two players have scored at least 1,000 points in their Iowa basketball careers.

Five Hawkeye teams have had three of them on the roster at the same time. But no group has played as instrumental a role in the rebuilding of a program as have Devyn Marble, Melsahn Basabe and Aaron White.

All three 1,000-point scorers will be in the starting lineup today when No. 14 Iowa hosts Minnesota at noon in sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena. A victory would give Iowa a 4-1 Big Ten record. The Hawkeyes finished 4-14 in the league when Marble and Basabe were freshmen in 2010-11.

“I think it’s more special when you can help a program that’s been struggling, and be part of the reason they’ve gotten back to where they used to be,” said Marble, who has scored 1,412 points and is the Hawkeyes’ leading scorer at 16.4 points a game.

Marble’s father, Roy, is Iowa’s all-time scoring champ with 2,116 points. Roy, B.J. Armstrong and Jeff Moe all reached the 1,000-point mark during the 1987-88 season. Ed Horton joined Marble and Armstrong as 1,000-point scorers in 1988-89.

Jess Settles, Chris Kingsbury and Kenyon Murray all passed the 1,000-point mark in 1995-96. Jeff Horner, Greg Brunner and Pierre Pierce did the same in 2004-05.

All four of those teams had at least 21 wins band made it to the NCAA Tournament. But Iowa’s program was in much better shape when they joined the program. When Marble and Basabe were freshmen, in coach Fran McCaffery’s first season, the Hawkeyes finished 11-20. Iowa improved to 18-17 in 2011-12, White’s rookie season, while reaching the second round of the NIT.

Now, after a 25-13 season in 2012-13 that ended with a loss to Baylor in the NIT championship game, Iowa’s three 1,000-point scorers look to finish this year with 20-plus wins again and secure the school’s first NCAA berth since 2006.

“Obviously we’ve had our fair share of opportunities early on, because of the struggles when we got here,” said White, who has scored 1,111 points. “It’s kind of nice to have a hand in turning this thing around.”

Marble, White and Basabe all share another link. All three were lightly recruited out of high school, but were good fits in McCaffery’s system.

“I think the thing that’s been impressive is they weren’t afraid to come under the circumstances (they came in), which is if this thing is going to be turned, we’re going to be the ones who do it,” McCaffery said. “We’re not going to be on the backs of somebody else and we’re not going to sustain something that’s already there, and that takes a lot of courage and a lot of confidence in yourself. That’s what I love about those guys.”

Senior forward Zach McCabe won’t reach 1,000 points — he has 791— but McCaffery considers his contribution to the program’s turnaround just as valuable.

“So you put (McCabe) into the mix, and those guys just wanted to be here,” McCaffery said. “They wanted an opportunity to play in the Big Ten in a great environment with an impressive fan base. The fact that they’re enjoying more success and getting more notoriety and attention is terrific. I mean, that’s what I told them would happen, and I’m glad it did.”

Basabe, who originally signed with McCaffery at Siena but followed his coach to Iowa, has scored 1,020 points.

“A thousand points wasn’t something I wanted to do, or a goal I set,” said Basabe, who is fourth on Iowa’s career blocked shots list (138) and considers that figure his college highlight. “It came with playing hard, with trying to get better and trying to be an effective player. I think it’s just special, to be in a winning environment right now.”