When Devyn Marble looked at his cell phone Sunday, and saw he had a voicemail from Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery, he got a few butterflies.
“It kind of makes you think about what you’ve done the past 24 hours,” Iowa’s sophomore guard said.
Marble felt better after listening to the message.
“At least I knew, when I called him back, what I’d be talking about,” Marble said.
The voicemail left by McCaffery went something like this: “I just want to pick your brain about a few things.”
McCaffery, whose team faces Illinois at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., was concerned about Marble’s lack of aggressiveness in recent games.
“I said, “Tell me what’s going on? ’” McCaffery said. “Why do you think you were tentative? He said he was just trying to be perfect. I said, “You can’t. Nobody is. You need to be who you are. Play your game. You’ve got to go, you’ve got to attack. And if you make a mistake, run back and forget about it.’ ”
“Against that 1-3-1 I was just trying to make the right passes, and the right plays,” Marble said. “It kind of hurt us in that stretch where we were up 12 or 13 points. I had a few turnovers that led to easy transition baskets. My mistakes were not aggressive mistakes. Any coach can live with aggressive mistakes, because you’re trying to do something. When you’re passive, it really hurts the team.”
Marble, Iowa’s second-leading scorer at 11.1 points a game, caught the wrath of his coach at halftime of the last two games. He responded both times. He scored all 11 of his points in the second half at Nebraska, including back-to-back 3-pointers in transition that were part of a pivotal 18-5 run.
Against Northwestern, he had three first-half turnovers and four points. He had seven points and just one turnover after halftime.
“There are certain guys you can’t rip,” McCaffery said. “But I’m able to rip him. I know him. You can say anything to him and he’s going to come right back and give you everything he’s got. That’s what I love about him.”
Marble takes the spirited halftime talks in stride.
“It’s not a big deal,” Marble said. “It’s not like he’s hitting me or anything like that. You can’t take it to heart all the time. You just have to listen and grow from it.”
BIG TEN TOURNAMENT
At Indianapolis, Ind.
THURSDAY’S FIRST ROUND
(TV: Big Ten Network)
10:30 a.m. — Iowa (16-15) vs. Illinois (17-14)
1:00 — Indiana (24-7) vs. Penn State (12-19)
4:30 — Northwestern (18-12) vs. Minnesota (18-13)
7:00 — Purdue (20-11) vs. Nebraska (12-17)
(TV: Big Ten Network)
11 a.m. — Michigan State (24-7) vs. Iowa or Illinois
1:30 — Wisconsin (23-8) vs. Indiana or Penn State
5:30 — Michigan (23-8) vs. Northwestern or Minnesota
8:00 — Ohio State (25-6) vs. Purdue or Nebraska
12:40 — First semifinal (CBS)
3:05 — Second semifinal (CBS)
2:30 — Semifinal winners (CBS)
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball