Black No. 4 Iowa basketball jerseys hang on a rack at the Sports Page, an Altoona sporting goods store.
NCAA rules don’t allow names on the back of college jerseys that are sold to the public. Not that it’s much of a secret who No. 4 was. Devyn Marble wore that number for four seasons at Iowa, becoming the school’s fifth-leading career scorer.
On Saturday, the all-Big Ten guard signed the name missing from the back of those jerseys for fans at the Sports Page. And he’s doing everything in his power to get his name stitched on the back of an NBA uniform next season.
“Devyn has established himself as a guy that can really play, and he’s got versatility and character,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “I’d be absolutely shocked if he wasn’t on an NBA roster next year. Just shocked.”
Marble, who is on target to graduate May 17, said goodbye to Iowa City for good on Monday. Basketball is now his full-time job.
His office is a weight room and gym in Los Angeles, Calif., where clients of the Wasserman Media Group gather to prepare for next month’s NBA Draft. Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State and Joel Embiid of Kansas are among the other players there.
“We’re all competitive,” Marble said. “We come prepared to work every day. I think this is the best thing that could have happened to me.”
Embiid and Smart will both be lottery picks. Marble’s future isn’t as clear. Most projections have him going in the second round.
“There’s a lot of interest in him,” McCaffery said. “There’s no doubt in my mind he can play in the league.”
Marble, who finished his career in the Top 10 in nine different statistical categories at Iowa, injured an ankle in the Hawkeyes’ first-round NCAA loss to Tennessee and took some time off to heal. But he’s 100 percent now.
“Health is one of the most important things now,” Marble said. “I’ve been training and lifting. Just getting stronger, keeping my jumper on target and being consistent. Working on every part of my game.”
Marble has been invited to next week’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, starting May 14. After that will be a series of road trips to take part in invited workouts for NBA teams. His first scheduled workout is May 26 with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Marble’s agent is B.J. Armstrong, the former Iowa star and teammate of Devyn’s father, Roy. Both Armstrong and Marble were first-round picks in 1989.
“His game has totally changed,” Roy Marble said. “You wouldn’t recognize it. I was totally shocked. Having guys like Smart and Embiid in there, it just raises your game to another level.”
College seniors in the draft are about as rare as mid-range jump shots these days, with so many underclassmen leaving school early. Forty-three underclassmen have entered the two-round, 60-player draft that takes place June 26.
“I think Devyn deserves to get drafted,” McCaffery said. “A lot of young guys put their name in and I’m thinking to myself, “Who’s advising him?’ ”
McCaffery said the fact that Marble is young for his class – he turns 22 in September – plays in his favor.
“A lot of teams like him as a point guard,” McCaffery said. “They love the fact that they would have a 6-7 point guard who can score, and he’s an underrated defender. The other thing is that he’s a young senior. They tend to draft young guys.”
In addition to adding strength, Marble has worked on his jump shot, especially from 3-point distance. His ability to score as a standstill shooter as well as on the catch or dribble increases his potential value. Marble said added strength will allow him to play and contribute right away.
“That’s why I’m trying to get stronger,” Marble said. “They all know that I can play, shoot, dribble-drive, all those things. I’m trying to get my body in shape to be able to endure an 82-game season.”
McCaffery still hopeful on recruiting trail
Iowa’s basketball program came in second in the recruitment of Nevada transfer forward Cole Huff, who picked Creighton, and junior college forward Willie Atwood, who signed with Arizona State.
But Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, who has two scholarships available for next season, hasn’t stopped recruiting.
“We’ve still got some guys we are looking at,” McCaffery said.
McCaffery said that includes some possible transfers, fifth-year players, junior college prospects and high school seniors.
“We’ve still got some guys on the board,” McCaffery said.
The final day of the spring signing period is May 21.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball